Downie, who will have surgery, was injured in the second period of Tuesday's 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings at Pepsi Center.
The 25-year-old had an assist and six penalty minutes in two games this season. He had 13 points (11 assists) in 20 games for Colorado last season after he was acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning in February.
He signed a two-year contract with the Avalanche in June.
The Denver Post reported Chuck Kobasew would take Downie's place in the lineup. It also said forward Brad Malone would be called up from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League, where he had 14 points in 37 games this season.
The Avalanche also remain without forward Ryan O'Reilly, an unsigned restricted free agent.
It's an incredible feeling just to see it go in and see the Joe go pretty crazy. Ever since the introduction there, I was kind of feeling the nerves, and to put that one home, I started to feel comfortable and I thought my play started to pick up.
— Nineteen-year-old Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin after scoring a goal in his NHL debut
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