Detroit Red Wings goaltender Joey MacDonald took another step toward his recovery from a bulging disk this past week by getting back on the ice for the first time in five months.

MacDonald received another cortisone injection last Thursday and skated for 30 minutes on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.

"I think it's coming pretty well,'' MacDonald, who hadn't skated since August, said. "(Tuesday) we did a lot of ups and downs and took a few shots. It feels good. We'll keep doing that, ease my way into it. I'm not going to rush into it, I waited this long. Every day add a little bit extra and go from there.''

He hopes to be cleared to play within two weeks. He hasn't played a game since March 14, 2012, when the back problem ended his season.

"I want to make sure I'm 100 percent,'' MacDonald said. "I'm not going to go out and just jump into practice right away. It's going to take some time to just get my timing back, get my legs under me.''

MacDonald faces an uncertain future. The Red Wings signed Jonas Gustavsson on July 1 to be Jimmy Howard's backup. Gustavsson hasn't played yet due to a groin strain but should be ready before MacDonald.

MacDonald would need to clear waivers to be sent to the Grand Rapids Griffins. But, he can be assigned there without waivers for up to two weeks on a conditioning stint.

The Griffins, however, are set in net with highly touted prospect Petr Mrazek and former first-round pick Tom McCollum, who currently is backing up Howard while Gustavsson recovers.

MacDonald, who turns 33 on Feb. 7, would give the Red Wings an NHL-ready backup if case of injury to Howard or Gustavsson. He finished 8-5-1, with a 2.16 goals-against average, for Detroit in 2011-12 and won seven games in a row from Feb. 8-28 when Howard was injured.