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Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg uncertain for season with back injury

ESPN.com | Updated: 2018-08-28 00:00:17

Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg's back injury could keep the left winger out for the entire 2018-19 season and ultimately end his NHL career, according to coach Jeff Blashill.

Blashill told reporters at the Stars & Stripes Showdown on Sunday that he doesn't expect Zetterberg to play the upcoming season if he is not cleared by the regular-season opener Oct. 4.

"I know it's been a hard summer for him. I know he hasn't really been able to train," Blashill said. "He gutted it out for two months at the end of the year, and it was amazing to see. But it's one thing to gut it out for two months; it's another thing when you haven't been able to train at all to be able to play an NHL season. I know it's been a real hard summer and I know ... there's lots of doubt to where he'll be at."

Zetterberg, 37, has been dealing with a lingering back issue, and Blashill said they would have a better idea of his status as training camp begins Sept. 14. Blashill said that Zetterberg told him he hasn't been able to train, giving Blashill doubt that the winger could make it through a full season.

"If he comes into camp and is in a spot where he's not cleared, I wouldn't plan on him for the rest of the year," Blashill said. "That would be my take because I don't know how you go from not being able to train and then not cleared to all of a sudden being cleared."

Zetterberg had played in all 82 games over each of the past three seasons. He had 11 goals and 45 assists in 2017-18 as the Red Wings missed the playoffs for the second straight year.

The two-time All-Star won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2008 as Detroit won the Stanley Cup. In 2015, he was honored with the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, which recognizes a player's leadership and humanitarian efforts.

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