Subban, who has missed the last six games with a neck injury, will travel with his teammates to Detroit.
“I gotta follow what the doctors say,” said Subban. “Right now we’re just taking it day by day, just trying to get my timing back with the team. But I’ve still got some symptoms from the injury and from them — they don’t want me back in unless I’m 100 per cent.”
Subban practised on Wednesday for a second consecutive day, but the Canadiens second-leading scorer (six goals, 45 assists) isn’t ready for game action.
The Toronto native said his neck is at its stiffest waking up in the morning, and it’s not much better after a rigorous workout, like the one he had on the ice Wednesday.
“I can’t even tilt my head right now, there’s no chance I could play like this,” said Subban. “It’s a little tough when you’re out there and you’re struggling to see over your shoulder. The way the game is played now — it’s so fast, you can’t afford to lose that half a second.”
Subban was injured in the final minutes of Montreal’s 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on March 10. After colliding with teammate Alexei Emelin, he spent several moments motionless on the ice while Canadiens trainers and doctors attended to him. He was then stretchered off the ice and taken to the hospital where it was deemed his injury was non-serious.
“I’ve always been taught not to stay down on the ice, to get up after something happens,” said Subban. “And in that situation, when you start feeling weird feelings in your hands and stuff like that, it’s a little scary.
“Once (Canadiens athletic therapist) Graham (Rynbend) came out, I knew once he was on top of me it was probably best to just stay down, and they took every precaution for my safety.”
— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) March 23, 2016
Subban is currently on heavy medication for the injury and is receiving daily treatment.
After speaking with reporters for roughly 20 minutes, Subban joked that he missed holding court in the Canadiens locker-room. But missing games due to injury was no laughing matter for him.
“It’s tough for me to watch sometimes,” said Subban. “When we were winning it’s easy for me to watch, when things aren’t going as well it’s tougher for me to watch.”
Montreal is 2-4-0 in Subban’s absence. He had played in 274 straight games — 308 matchups including playoffs — and he had never missed any due to injury in his six NHL seasons.
“Once this passes, hopefully I can just start another streak,” said Subban. “Every game that passes I get more and more anxious. But that’s why we have the best training staff in the world, and I trust in these guys to give me the best feedback possible.”
Forward David Desharnais could return against the Red Wings after missing five weeks with a fractured left foot.
Fellow forward Sven Andrighetto, who missed Tuesday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks with an upper body injury, is also a possibility for Thursday’s game.