The fear was that the 86-year-old had another severe stroke Monday after showing diminished consciousness for more than 30 minutes, the family said.
Howe was transported to University Medical Center, where an MRI revealed that he did not have another severe stroke like the one that initially hospitalized him in late October.
He is being treated for dehydration, and there are other problems with Howe's condition.
"He is having difficulty eating solid foods at this time, has slurred speech and has been unable to walk for more than three weeks now," the family said. "All of these factors are contributing to his overall decline in health."
Howe's family said his "mental awareness has improved" to the point that he should be back at his daughter Cathy's house and not spend another night in the hospital.
In the statement, the family also offered condolences to the family of late Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau.
"The hockey world lost a man who epitomized professionalism, dignity and class," the Howe family said.