Detroit Red Wings: Jimmy Howard Cleared to Play, Mikael Samuelsson to Miss Time

Eric McKelvieSenior Writer IFebruary 21, 2013

DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 25: Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings makes a play against the Minnesota Wild at Joe Louis Arena on January 25, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Detroit Red Wings continue to battle through a number of injuries in the first half of the lockout-shortened season. 

The latest victim: goaltender Jimmy Howard. 

Howard left midway through the first period of Tuesday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Nashville Predators after experiencing blurred vision. According to Ansar Khan of, general manager Ken Holland noted that "Howard got run into during practice on Monday," but had no issues leading up to the game against Nashville. 

Fortunately for the Red Wings, tests revealed nothing of concern and Howard has been cleared to play, according to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. 

Howard is 6-5-2 this season with a 3.08 goals-against average, a .897 save percentage and no shutouts. 

Jonas Gustavsson took over for Howard against the Predators, in what was just his second appearance of the season. Gustavsson has battled a groin injury since the beginning of the season, but finally appears to be healthy. 

Mikael Samuelsson also dealt with a groin injury early in the season and will now miss time because of an injured finger. 

Samuelsson will be out for at least two weeks after sustaining a non-displaced fracture to one of his fingers (per the Detroit Free Press). The injury occurred on Tuesday when Samuelsson was struck in the left hand on a shot by Ian White at practice. Samuelsson has played in just three games, recording an assist and three shots.

Johan Franzen (hip flexor) is doubtful for Thursday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but is still closer to returning than the Red Wings' other injured players (per   

Todd Bertuzzi (back), Darren Helm (back), Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder) and Brendan Smith (shoulder) are all at least a week away from returning to the lineup. These four players have combined to play in just 18 games this season. 

The Red Wings could certainly use a boost to their lineup, as they are now winless in their last four games. 

With 17 points in 16 games this season, the Red Wings currently sit tied with the Dallas Stars for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.