Prior to a crucial game Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks, the Oilers reported Nugent-Hopkins will travel to Cleveland to have his shoulder examined, with surgery a likely possibility.
The Oilers need a win to keep their hopes for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs alive. They enter the game 12th in the Western Conference, seven points behind the eighth-place Columbus Blue Jackets with five games remaining.
Nugent-Hopkins, the first pick of the 2011 NHL Draft, had four goals and 20 assists in 40 games this season. He missed time earlier this season with an injury to his left shoulder, and missed 20 games last season with a shoulder injury.
"We discussed it a little bit during the year," Nugent-Hopkins said of his shoulder issues. "It's something that doesn't fix itself. It has to be taken care of."
Nugent-Hopkins said there is no date for the surgery set yet, but said he hopes to have it done soon so he's healthy to start the 2013-14 season. He said he expects the procedure to be similar to the one teammate Taylor Hall had last season; Hall had surgery last spring to repair a labral tear and was in the lineup in November.
"It's a tough surgery and a tough recovery process, but I'm definitely glad I got mine done," Hall said. "I feel a lot better."
"The plan was to get [the surgery] done before the season ends," Nugent-Hopkins said, "so I'm recovered and good to go before next season," he said.