Red Wings’ Weiss might have pushed too hard

Stephen Weiss, 31, was limited to 26 games this past season and underwent surgery for a sports hernia in Philadelphia on Dec. 23.

Perry Nelson/Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

DETROIT — If Stephen Weiss could get a do-over for the 2013-14 season, he probably would take it.

Coming to the Red Wings with a five-year, $24.5 million contract, Weiss said he tried to fight through his sports hernia rather than dealing with it sooner.

"Coming down for the first game of the year and thinking, ‘How are you going to get through the game?’ is probably not the right way to start," Weiss said Tuesday. "It’s not my first year. I’ve been around a bit and should be a little bit smarter, and should have spoken up earlier. Maybe some of this could have been avoided."

Weiss, 31, was limited to 26 games this past season and underwent surgery in Philadelphia on Dec. 23.

Although Weiss expected to be able to return after the Olympic break, he was still experiencing pain and eventually was shut down for the rest of the season.

"It’s been a big disappointment, but I don’t know how much I’d change — other than being a little smarter in the summer and maybe a little smarter at the start of the season, not trying to play through these types of things as much as I did," Weiss said. "Even though it was my first year (with the Wings) and I wanted to do things the right way, maybe taking a little time off at the start of the season would have done me better than pushing through and trying to be a little bit of a hero that way."

Last week, Weiss returned to Philadelphia for a second surgery to remove scar tissue and to reinforce some other areas.

"Right now, it’s just the rehab process again, so we’ll go through that in the next few weeks and obviously be in contact with the doctor and go through that protocol," Weiss said. "And then he wanted me to get back on the ice in about six weeks and see how it is."

Weiss said his situation now isn’t as bad as it was before he had the original surgery.

"The first time was a complete repair," Weiss said. "This time, it wasn’t as much but still pretty sore. But I feel pretty good right now.

"It’s just a matter of letting it heal properly and make sure that you do your rehab properly, and get all of those muscles in there strong again."

Weiss said he plans to stay in Detroit for a little while before returning to a rehab program he has set up in Toronto with Gary Roberts and others.

The Wings made a big investment in Weiss, and general manager Ken Holland hopes — but isn’t certain — that it can still pay off.

"He’s basically played a half a year the last two years," Holland said. "It’s hard to know where he’s going to be in September.

"That small surgery that was performed last week, was that the answer to what ails him? Is he able to have a June, July and August where he’s able to hit the gym and come to camp healthy, fit and ready to go? Or are we going to wake up in early June and he’s where he was a month ago, and we’re going to continue to be looking for answers as to why he isn’t getting healthy?

"I don’t have an answer for you. I thought he’d be healthy six weeks ago."

Although injuries sidelined Weiss for most of the previous two seasons, he played in at least 74 games in the six seasons before that (2006-12).

In 2008-09, Weiss had 14 goals and 47 assists for the Florida Panthers. He followed that up with 28 goals and 32 assists in 2009-10. He’s had four seasons with 20 or more goals.

Weiss said he believes he’ll be 100 percent by the time training camp starts in September.

"I’m confident that we did the right things all the way through, as much as we knew what was wrong, and tried to go about it the right way," Weiss said. "It just never really recovered properly.

"So I’m going to work hard this summer like I did last summer, just be a little smarter."