Russian coach says Datsyuk still struggling with lower-body injury

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In what was a bit of a surprise, Pavel Datsyuk played for Russia against Slovenia today after missing practice.

Datsyuk has been hampered by a lower-body injury and the Russian coach said it’s still an issue as Larry Lage of AP shares.

Speaking through an interpreter, Russia coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov said “Pavel is having a difficult time, still,” with his lower-body injury.

Datsyuk’s nagging injury kept him out of the Detroit Red Wings lineup for most of January. He said he wasn’t concerned about it being an issue at the Olympics, but it’s clear it’s still giving him some trouble.

The Russians face the United States on Saturday and they’ll need Datsyuk in the lineup to try and keep Team USA’s centers under control. Considering the amount of speed the Americans played with in their 7-1 win against Slovakia, it’ll be Datsyuk’s toughest test of the tournament.