Todd Bertuzzi is building up his ice time, but not so much his actual skating.

While most of his Red Wings teammates took advantage of an optional morning skate Monday to relish the sunshine, Bertuzzi was among the handful who went through a light practice at Jobing.com Arena. It didn't leave him in a good mood.

"It's frustrating," Bertuzzi said. "It takes a long time. My right leg is just not cooperating right. It looks like it'll take time.

"I'm trying to go as long as I can. I just got no power, still. Hopefully, it starts coming soon."

Bertuzzi last played Feb. 7 when he limped out of St. Louis in so much pain he landed in the hospital for three days. The pain shot from his lower back down his right leg, where a pinched nerve made it hard to walk. His back has improved, but the leg is impacting every stride.

"I can't skate fast, I can't skate hard, and I can't move quick enough yet," he said. "I guess the nerve must still be inflamed. It's not where I wish I was right now -- I thought I was feeling better. The back feels a lot better, but I can't get the leg to catch up.

"You can't push off. You have no strength in your right leg. The frustrating thing is it takes time, but it's a lockout year, and the games are going by pretty quick."

There are 15 games left in the regular season, which ends April 27. The odds are diminishing daily that Bertuzzi will make it back. He has skated three days in a row for the first time in some six weeks, but he isn't close to joining full practices. When and if that day comes, he'd likely need a good week's worth of those before there'd be any talk of getting into the lineup.

The Wings miss his size and sweet touch with the puck, but coach Mike Babcock has learned to live without injured players and not to bank on them being ready until he sees it himself.