An upper-body injury will keep winger Kyle Okposo out of the Buffalo Sabres' lineup for "a while," coach Ralph Krueger told reporters Saturday morning in KeyBank Center.
Okposo left for the trainers' room after playing only 3:47 in the first period of a 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. Though Krueger is awaiting a thorough diagnosis, he told reporters Okposo did not suffer another concussion and that the injury is not expected to put the forward's season in jeopardy.
"I don’t have an exact time period, but we don’t expect him back here for a while," Krueger said.
Additionally, defenseman Brandon Montour (lower body) was a late scratch Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets after participating in pregame warmup. He missed practice Friday for what Krueger called "maintenance," and Zach Bogosian was unavailable because of an illness.
Okposo, 31, has five goals and seven assists with a minus-3 rating in 40 games this season. He missed 10 games after suffering a concussion against the Ottawa Senators on Nov. 16 in KeyBank Center.
This is another significant hit to an injury-depleted roster that lost Vladimir Sobotka (knee) and Tage Thompson (shoulder) to season-ending surgeries. Victor Olofsson has also missed the past 10 games with a lower-body injury after scoring 16 goals with 19 assists through 42 games. The Sabres have 242 man-games lost to injury this season.
The setback will take Okposo out of the lineup during a season in which he has carved out a niche as a checking-line player. Like his teammates, Okposo's offensive product has dipped in recent weeks. He has one goal with two assists in his last 15 games.
Montour, meanwhile, is "day-to-day," according to Krueger, after experiencing discomfort during pregame warmup. The 25-year-old has three goals with 10 assists and a plus-5 rating in 37 games. He was on the ice for 23:31 against the Canadiens on Thursday night.
Montour was replaced by Lawrence Pilut, who blocked three shots in 22:20 of ice time against Columbus.
"It’s day-to-day," Krueger said of Montour. "He wouldn’t have been in that situation if it was a serious situation, but we definitely didn’t want to risk what he was feeling to put him in the lineup today. Pilut came in last minute and did an excellent job on that short notice.”