Wings' Jurco out 4-6 weeks with back injury

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Bruins' John-Michael Liles  defends Red Wings' Tomas Jurco  during the second period.

Detroit – The Red Wings are hoping this isn’t a sign of things to come this season in terms of injuries.

The team announced Wednesday defenseman Niklas Kronwall will not be participating in the World Cup because of his aching knee, forward Tomas Jurco will miss four-to-six weeks after having minor back surgery last week, and prospect forward Vili Saarijarvi will be out three months after recent wrist surgery.

Kronwall was replaced on the Team Sweden roster Wednesday by Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm.

Kronwall, 35, was bothered most of last season with a knee problem – he had arthroscopic surgery in February - which limited him to 64 games.

General manager Ken Holland said this off-season Kronwall chose rest and rehabilitation rather over further surgery on the knee.

“He’s feeling better but he’s not 100 percent,” Holland said. “He wants to be fair to Team Sweden and fair to the Red Wings. He’s going to the take the next month, get stronger, and get ready for the season.”

Holland said he’s hopeful Kronwall will be ready for the start of Red Wings training camp on Sept. 23.

Jurco, 23, hurt himself while training last week in his native Slovakia.

Holland said doctors in Slovakia, and the Red Wings’ own medical people, recommended the back surgery last week that’ll keep Jurco out for up to six weeks before he can even  begin conditioning and training for a return – which could take another few weeks.

A frequent healthy scratch last season, Jurco only played 44 games with four goals and two assists.

The fact Jurco and Teemu Pulkkinen (shoulder surgery) will not be ready for the start of the regular season does solve the Red Wings’ bloated roster issues, enhancing the likelihood of keeping a young player such as Andreas Athanasiou.

Holland also said Saarijarvi injured his wrist at the junior development camp in Plymouth earlier this month and had recent wrist surgery.

Saarijarvi likely will not participate during the exhibition season.

The Red Wings have eight players competing in the World Cup, which will run Sept. 17-Oct. 1 in Toronto.

Justin Abdelkader (USA), Dylan Larkin (Team North America), Henrik Zetterberg (Sweden), Petr Mrazek (Czech Republic), Alexey Marchenko (Russia), and Tomas Tatar, Frans Nielsen and Thomas Vanek (Team Europe) are scheduled to participate.