What was frustrating for Coyotes wing Lauri Korpikoski — aside from the fact that he was sidelined with a concussion during the team’s most critical stretch — was that improvement from this injury always seemed to be undermined by a setback.

“I was practicing and felt pretty good on the ice and then went home and started to get symptoms,” he said. “It’s really hard. You’re fatigued. Your head’s sore, or you’ve got pressure on your head. You just kind of sleep throughout the day. You don’t want to do anything.”

Well, other than play hockey, but Korpikoski wasn’t medically cleared to do that until Monday’s game in Detroit — returning exactly one month after he suffered the concussion March 25 against the Red Wings when he tried to hit a player and, “it just kind of backfired.”

It was the first concussion of Korpikoski’s career.

“It was tough to watch, and you can’t really do anything about it,” Korpikoski said. “Just wait and wait and hope you feel better the next day.”

Even though the Coyotes are out of playoff contention, Korpikoski hasn’t taken an early exit. If he’s healthy, he wants to play, and that’s a decision the coaching staff supports.

“If you have a broken bone, you know that’s going to heal,” coach Dave Tippett said. “But concussions are a little different thing. You want to make sure you’ve gone through hard games and come out feeling good about yourself. I think for him that’ll be a big accomplishment for him walking away, saying he’s fully healthy for next year.”

It’s also an opportunity to add to his body of work before Korpikoski and his agent sit down to start negotiations on a new contract this summer. Korpikoski, acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers in 2009, is set to become a restricted free agent. He and the Coyotes narrowly avoided arbitration the last time they met at the bargaining table in 2011, agreeing to a two-year deal worth $3.6 million.

“For sure I’d like to come back next year,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed my time here, four years, and I think we have a good core group here and really some good building blocks. Hopefully, we can keep most of the guys intact after the summer.”