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Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Malone could miss up to two months

Posted Feb 10, 2011 by Erik Erlendsson

Updated Feb 10, 2011 at 01:18 PM

The Lightning could face the toughest stretch of the season without one of their top forwards.

While there is no official word on how long Ryan Malone will be out of the lineup, Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher indicated on Thursday that Malone could be out up to two months with a possible torn abdominal muscle. The extent of the injury, however, has not officially been determined as there are varying medical opinions on exactly what Malone suffered during the second period of Tuesday’s loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Indications are that Malone, who has not spoken to the media since suffering the injury on Tuesday, may have overextended during a stride just prior to crashing hard into the Buffalo net.

The team said they are awaiting further medical evaluations before putting an exact timetable on Malone’s return. Until then he is officially listed as day-to-day, but there is a chance Malone may not be ready until the start of the playoffs in April.

Already without Nate Thompson, whom Boucher said was feeling “much, much, much’’ better on Thursday, after feeling woozy from the effects of his head hitting the boards on Sunday against St. Louis and has yet to resume workouts (he still has not officially been diagnosed with a concussion), and defenseman Mike Lundin, who had his status changed to out indefinitely with a middle body injury, the Lightning are expected to make at least one call up from the minor leagues.

Defenseman Matt Smaby, who left after two shifts Tuesday, was back at practice Thursday morning and expects to be ready to play on Saturday when Carolina comes for a visit.

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