One game into his return, Darren Helm's back problems recurred and rendered him on the sidelines.

In what continues to be a frustrating 12 months for Helm, his back acted up over the weekend, and he missed Sunday's 2-1 overtime loss the Blackhawks at United Center.

Helm had only just returned to play the previous game after missing the first week because of health issues dating to just before training camp began.

"I don't know if it's a setback or a new thing," coach Mike Babcock said. "I'm not the doc. Frustration is a waste of time."

Helm first hurt his back working out. An original MRI was negative, but given the persistence of the problem, general manager Ken Holland said Helm will have another MRI Monday.

Patrick Eaves entered the lineup, making his second appearance of the season. Losing Helm forced the Wings to move Justin Abdelkader back to centering the third line, the spot ideally occupied by Helm. Babcock hasn't hid how important Helm is to the team's success, calling him "the best third-line center in the NHL" numerous times. Helm, the team's fastest skater, is also crucial to the penalty kill.

"Abby's line was real good," Babcock said. "When you lose Helmer, you're thinking, how is this going to go? I thought his line might have been one of our best lines, because it was the most physical."

Helm spent much of the second half of last season hurt, returning from a knee issue only to suffer a season-ending cut to his forearm in the first game of the playoffs.