Danny DeKeyser holds out hope of return

DETROIT -- When Detroit Red Wings rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser broke his thumb on May 2 against the Anaheim Ducks, he was expected to miss the rest of the postseason. The prognosis now sounds a little more optimistic.

DeKeyser said he expected to have the hard cast removed after practice Wednesday, which would allow him to work on the flexibility of his thumb. A metal plate and screws were inserted to aid the healing.

He’s picked up the intensity of his practices and hasn’t had any setbacks while shooting more and making harder passes. He now hopes the Red Wings can extend their season long enough for his return.

“As long as they keep winning here, that just gives me a better chance for a return with every win,” DeKeyser said. “I’m just hoping that the guys in here can keep winning and keep improving along the way. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance in a playoff game again.”

Carlo Colaiacovo has played well in DeKeyser’s absence, and his 17:12 of ice time in Detroit’s Game 3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks was his most in any regulation game in the postseason. He was a plus-2 in the win.

But the smooth-skating DeKeyser was a key part of the Red Wings’ lineup down the stretch and would most certainly find a place in the lineup once healthy. He said doctors estimated a six-week recovery for his injury, which would put him close to a mid-June return.

He’s still holding out hope that he could play in the Western Conference finals if the Red Wings can beat the Blackhawks.

“I’m not ruling that out,” DeKeyser said. “As it is right now, I’m not ready to go yet. If I keep progressing like I am, I think I might have a chance to do that.”