The pain chugged through Wild winger Zach Parise's leg constantly, a 24-hour cycle of agony he couldn't escape triggered by a herniated disc in his back.
But as soon as he woke up from surgery to fix the issue, Parise felt immediately better.
"[The pain] was gone," he said, "and I was able to sit down comfortably. I knew right away. I was like, 'This is fantastic.' "
Almost six weeks after Parise underwent surgery near the end of October to relieve pressure on a nerve, Parise was back on the ice this week as he works toward an eventual return. He skated Wednesday and Thursday, noticing improvement between the two sessions.
Parise tried to avoid surgery before ultimately opting for it, a decision that was easy to make after his status deteriorated while he worked to make his season debut.
"The most frustrating thing was having it happen at the beginning of the season," Parise said. "You go through a summer of what I felt was a really good summer for training and working and skating, and then not even being able to start, that was pretty demoralizing. That's just the way it goes."
Before getting back on the ice, Parise let the wound heal for 3½ weeks and then started to work on his mobility. Next week, he'll start twisting and shooting.
At some point, although he isn't sure when, he'll rejoin the team.
He also doesn't have a date circled on the calendar for a return to game action, but what Parise is closing in on is the end of the two-to-six-week window post-surgery in which the chances of the issue flaring up again are the highest.
And although the pain is gone, Parise isn't expecting any other differences when he's on the ice.
"I can't really float around and be a perimeter player all of a sudden," he said. "… I don't see myself changing anything."
The Wild continues to fuss with its blue line, reuniting with Nate Prosser after plucking the defenseman off waivers Thursday from the Blues.
This will be Prosser's third stint with the organization, as he previously logged 282 games over parts of eight seasons for the Wild. A native of Elk River, Prosser ranks seventh in Wild history in blocked shots (475) and 10th in games played among defensemen.
Prosser signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Blues in August, emerging the odd man out on a deep defense. He played only one game this season for St. Louis.
"Just a good guy to have around and a good guy to have in the room," Parise said. "We are excited about getting him back."
A right shot, Prosser wasn't in the lineup Thursday against Vegas, but look for him to help stabilize the unit when he's ready to debut.
As for Kyle Quincey, the defenseman went unclaimed after the Wild placed him on waivers. The Wild did not assign him to the American Hockey League and he was to stay on the roster for the time being.
Defenseman Jared Spurgeon missed his second consecutive game Thursday because of a groin strain.
Spurgeon will also be sidelined Saturday when the Wild plays host to the Blues, coach Bruce Boudreau said, adding that "it's debatable" if Spurgeon will accompany the team on its upcoming three-game road trip to California.
The Golden Knights made their inaugural visit to Xcel Energy Center with a few familiar faces in tow.
Former Wild wingers Erik Haula and Alex Tuch have settled into regular roles with Vegas since joining the team in the summer — Haula via selection in the expansion draft and Tuch in a trade to get Vegas to lay off the Wild's other exposed players.
"It's been awesome," Haula said. "I've really enjoyed my time there. We have a good team, and waking up to 70 and sunny isn't too bad."