The prognoses are encouraging about three Wild veterans recovering from injuries, none more encouraging than that of captain Mikko Koivu, who is close to returning from a shoulder injury that has sidelined him for 20 of the past 24 games.

Koivu practiced on Friday, March 16, for a second straight day without any restrictions on contact. He was to meet with coach Mike Yeo and team physicians to determine whether it would be prudent to play Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Xcel Energy Center.

"It would be a game-time decision if Mikko came to us and said, 'I'm ready to go,' " Yeo said. "We want confidence that it's better, confidence that he can go out and not reaggravate it. He's too important to this franchise. He needed to be shut down and give that injury a proper chance to heal."

Koivu was upbeat after practice but stopped short of declaring himself fit for duty after acknowledging he came back too soon after missing eight games when he initially was hurt Jan. 14 in St. Louis. He played four games but reinjured himself Feb. 16 and has been out of the lineup since.