More than half its roster remains sidelined because of the NHL's COVID protocols, but the Wild has been cleared to reopen its facilities and the team will practice Friday at Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild was shut down by the NHL on Feb. 3 and had six games postponed as a COVID-19 outbreak swept through the lineup. Its next scheduled game is Tuesday at Los Angeles. Make-up dates for the games that were pushed back have yet to be announced.
Players were quarantining while the team was idle, and 12 are still in the protocols after Marcus Foligno was removed on Thursday. He's been out since going on the league's COVID list on Jan. 31.
That leaves Nick Bjugstad, Nick Bonino, Jonas Brodin, Ian Cole, Joel Eriksson Ek, Brad Hunt, Marcus Johansson, Victor Rask, Carson Soucy, Jared Spurgeon, Nico Sturm and Cam Talbot unavailable.
All those players suited up for the Wild's last game Feb. 2 at Colorado except for Johansson, who did not make the trip because of an upper-body injury. Spurgeon didn't finish the game, suffering an upper-body injury.
While in the NHL's COVID protocols, players can't practice, play or travel with the team.
A COVID-related absence can be the result of several factors, including a positive test, unconfirmed positive test and contact tracing. Although the league doesn't specify the reason, Wild General Manager Bill Guerin said earlier this week players who have COVID-19 are experiencing minor symptoms such as achiness and a loss of taste and smell. One Wild staff member has also been affected.
Colorado, which also had its season suspended after playing the Wild three straight games and has three players in the protocols, resumed practice on Thursday. The Avalanche's next game is set for Sunday at Vegas.
Instead of going off how many players are unavailable, the NHL relied on its medical advisers to decide when the risk of a further outbreak is low and under control to allow the Wild to restart.
But it could still take some time until everyone is released from the protocols.
An asymptomatic player can exit isolation 10 days after a positive test; someone who is symptomatic needs at least 10 days to have gone by since symptoms first appeared, to be fever-free for at least a day and to have had symptoms improve or to have tested negative twice.
Before returning to play, all players must be cleared by a cardiologist and team physician.
A player who tested positive must refrain from exercising for two weeks after his first positive test, according to the NHL's protocols, but exceptions can be granted.
Aside from the players in the protocols, the Wild was also missing Matt Dumba at the time the season paused.
Dumba has been out because of a lower-body injury after his right leg bent underneath him during an awkward fall to the ice in a Jan. 30 game against Colorado, but Guerin said Dumba could skate next week and the injury could have been worse.
Mats Zuccarello (arm) and Alex Stalock (upper body) have yet to play this season. Prospect Marco Rossi (complications from COVID-19) has returned to his native Austria.
Kevin Fiala finished serving a three-game suspension for boarding before the Wild went on hiatus, and he's among the players who could take to the ice Friday when the team begins practicing again.
The Wild also has its taxi squad, and on Thursday the team added defenseman Calen Addison from Iowa in the American Hockey League to that group of reserves. Iowa began its season last Friday.
Goalie Andrew Hammond, defensemen Matt Bartkowski and Dakota Mermis and forwards Gerald Mayhew, Luke Johnson and Kyle Rau are also on the taxi squad, which is capped at six, but the Wild received an exemption since one of the players on the taxi squad is in the COVID protocol.