Todd Bertuzzi will wait at least another day before re-entering the Red Wings' lineup.

Bertuzzi, who hasn't played since injuring his back Feb. 7, said he expects to play Thursday against Nashville.

There was hope Bertuzzi could be ready Wednesday night against Los Angeles, but Bertuzzi needed another day of practice.

"I'll be ready to play tomorrow," said Bertuzzi after Wednesday's morning skate. "I needed another hard skate. Like I said before, I can't come in and not be ready for a full 60 minutes."

The Wings play Nashville at home on Thursday night.

With the busy schedule lately, the Red Wings haven't had an opportunity for a full-scale practice which would have been beneficial for Bertuzzi.

"I haven't pushed it," Bertuzzi said. "I've been skating but I haven't been pushing it as I can in practice. I want to make sure it's right.

"I feel like it's (therapy) is working and it feels stronger, and coming in on a back-to-back might be good for the team, to get some fresh legs and an enthusiastic player."

The Red Wings have missed Bertuzzi's size and presence — maybe most of all his uncanny success during shootouts — but he may have to slightly alter his playing style once he returns.

"I have to go out there and keep it simple and obviously play a little different game than what I'm used to," Bertuzzi said. "Just get it in and try to grind stuff down low and play wherever it may be, like the fourth or third lines and play well defensively, and try what I can do offensively down low."

Bertuzzi believes he can be asset for this team as it continues to claw toward a playoff berth.

"I want to play for these guys, play hard for these guys, and stick up for them and do what I can," Bertuzzi said. "It's a great group and they've been giving it their all, and I just want to get in there and toe the rope with them and take care of the task we have ahead of us."

There is a delicate balance as to whether a player can contribute much this time of the season after having played so little throughout the season.

"I watched guys who were out of the lineup all year and played against us and weren't any good at all," coach Mike Babcock said. "Unless you're up to speed I don't know how you jump into the NHL schedule. Guys get to training camp and take six weeks to get going."