It's going to be at least another week or two until Darren Helm is healthy enough to return to the Detroit Red Wings lineup.

Heck, it might be even longer. Back injuries can be tricky.

But after battling injuries for almost a year now, things might finally be looking up for Helm. He not only practiced with the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday for the first time in more than a month, he'll also be joining them for the three-game western road trip that begins tonight in Calgary.

Helm probably won't play when the Red Wings visit Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver this week but simply being part of the club's traveling party is great therapy.

"It'll be nice to be on the road," Helm said. "Get back on a plane, dinner, share some time with the guys. It was nice when I was in Columbus, got to skate with a few of the guys that were injured or not playing and it was nice being on the plane and just going out to dinner. It's been awhile and I miss it. It will be good for my body and mind.

"I've been so cut off this year. It has been hard not being part of the team. Guys have been good, keeping me a part of things, but it's not the same when you're not out on the ice. Just joking around, shooting the puck around after, having lots of fun after the actual practice."