Maybe Wednesday, maybe Friday. One of these games coming up, Pavel Datsyuk sounds like he’s returning to the Red Wings’ lineup.

Datsyuk is going to skate Wednesday morning and he’s pointing toward returning later that night against the Boston Bruins.

Which came as news Tuesday to coach Mike Babcock, who was was under the impression Datsyuk was shooting for Friday’s game against Buffalo.

Regardless, it sounds like Datsyuk’s getting closer. He’s been out of the lineup since Feb. 27 with an inflamed knee, which has bothered him since the Jan. 1 Winter Classic.

“I’m going to assess him in the game,” Babcock said. “Someone told me he’s playing Friday.”

When told Datsyuk aims to return Wednesday, Babcock said he’s concentrating on players who’ll be available and doesn’t want the anticipation for Datsyuk’s return to get out of hand.

“I haven’t been involved in those decisions all year,” said Babcock, adding it’s Datsyuk’s call if he’s ready. “I only spend time worrying about the players who are playing. If I hear he’s playing (Wednesday), I’ll start worrying about him tomorrow.

“The thing to understand is it’s not about Pavel one bit. It’s about the Red Wings and the guys who’ve been playing. We have to keep grinding. I don’t want to get caught up in that whatsoever. I want us to keep working.”

Datsyuk was on the ice for Tuesday’s practice but largely spent time doing drills and stickhandling on his own.

“Game-time decision, we’ll see how I feel,” said Datsyuk, who met briefly with reporters after Tuesday’s practice. “Happy to be back (at practice). I need a little more time to pick up the pace.

Datsyuk added he can do more things on the ice than three weeks ago when the team and doctors shut him down to rest the knee.

“I need more time,” said Datsyuk at one point, possibly suggesting Friday might be more realistic. “But games start, short shifts, that helps a lot.

“I have to make sure I am able to help the team. That is important. We’re in a good race for the playoffs, and that’s more important.