Wild winger Zach Parise hurriedly packed his bags following Wednesday’s morning skate before embarking on the 3 1/2-hour drive to join the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League.

“I’ve been sent down,” Parise said with a smile.

Parise intends to play in Thursday’s game against the Rockford IceHogs with plans to return to the Twin Cities after the game.

“I’ll see how it feels after that,” Parise said. “That’s as far as we’ve looked ahead right now.”

Parise hasn’t played at all this season after having back surgery on Oct. 24. He has been on an arduous road to recovery since then and this rehab assignment figures to be one of the final steps before he makes his highly anticipated season debut.

“It’s helped a lot of people in the past,” coach Bruce Boudreau said, adding that he hoped to have Parise back in the lineup sometime shortly after New Year’s Day.