Despite return, Datsyuk’s Olympic status still uncertain

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Detroit forward Pavel Datsyuk returned from a knee injury on Thursday and played in two games before the Olympic break. However, the Red Wings limited his playing time in both contests and after missing 14 consecutive matches due to the ailment, his role with Team Russia still might end up being limited, if he plays at all.

“When Datsyuk arrives, we will talk and make a decision,” Russian head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov said, according to R-Sport. “Tomorrow is only the 10th and everything is possible.”

Losing Datsyuk would be a big blow for Russia — as it would be for any team. He’s not just another offensive threat on a squad loaded with them, he’s also one of the best two-way players in the game.

Before the 35-year-old forward left for Sochi, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock suggested that Datsyuk will ultimately need to determine if he’s ready or not, according to the Detroit News. This would be Datsyuk’s fourth and potentially last Winter Olympics, to say nothing of the fact that it’s an opportunity to win a gold medal at home.