Red Wings' Mike Green skating, regaining strength after virus

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Mike Green

Detroit — At his worst, Mike Green wasn’t healthy enough to play hockey and didn't even have the energy to do much of anything.

The veteran defenseman, who is on this Red Wings’ trip through Tampa Bay and Florida, is recovering from a troublesome virus that has kept him from the lineup the entire season to this point.

Slowly, Green is feeling normal again.

“It’s a combination of everything,” said Green, of how he felt early on when the virus hit. “You just don’t feel right, basically, especially when you do any sort of activity where you’re pushing yourself. Then, you really feel it.

"You can’t really do anything but rest.”

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Green has begun to skate, but said there’s no timeline for a return to a Wings lineup that could use his puck-moving skills and veteran presence.

“There’s a fine balance of staying on the ice and not doing too much,” said Green of the rehabilitation. “We’ve done a good job of monitoring and slowly increasing each time (on the ice) without pushing too hard.

“It’s unfortunate it takes time. I wish there were a time frame or an answer with these sort of things. You really have to listen how you’re feeling. We’ve been doing tests every week. We’re doing everything we can.”

The virus, which at one point was attacking Green’s liver, hit hard right after training camp in Traverse City, although Green was beginning to feel sluggish heading into camp.

“A little bit before, and camp really sort of pushed me to the limits. That’s when we sort of knew something was wrong," he said.

Rest has been Green’s best defense.

“It’s just one of those things that takes time," Green said. "You have to make sure you’re resting and taking care of yourself. The better and more you do, the quicker you get back.”

Seeing Green on the ice, and participating in drills with teammates, and back in the locker room, were good signs for coach Jeff Blashill.

“First, it’s good to see him, I haven’t seen him much, it’s good to have him around,” Blashill said. “He’s a great leader, and just being around us is a positive thing. A lot of guys care about him and he’s a real good leader.”

With injuries having decimated the Wings’ defense, they’ve been using four inexperienced, young defensemen who’ve struggled at times.

A player with Green’s NHL pedigree certainly has been missed.

“He’s an upper-tier NHL defensemen,” Blashill said. “He moves the puck out of the zone real well, he’s get you out of your zone and you don’t spend as much time on defense. He can put teams on their heels with his attack mentality. We haven’t had that.

"Certainly, it’ll be a good boost when he does return.”

The fact Green is feeling well enough to travel, and do some light practicing, is an encouraging sign.

“Absolutely; that hasn’t been the case for the last little bit,” said Green. “It’s a positive. Everything is moving forward and I’ll just continue to hope for the best.

“I’m kind of at the tail end of it (the virus). Now I’m back on the ice and feeling a lot better every time I skate. I haven’t skated all that much, so it’s about getting back into shape and getting into playing form.

“That’s the next step.”

Twitter @tkulfan