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Blackhawks' Versteeg out with lower-body injury

by NHL.com Staff / NHL.com

Chicago Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg will miss about three weeks with a lower-body injury, coach Joel Quenneville said Wednesday according to the team's official Twitter account.

It is not known whether Versteeg, who sustained the injury during practice on Tuesday, would be placed on long-term injured reserve.

"Yeah, kind of frustrating, disappointing for him," Quenneville told the Blackhawks website. "He was very upset with what happened there. We're disappointed too because we really felt that he gives us a lot of versatility and options in our game."

Versteeg had 12 goals and 36 points in 81 games last season with the Florida Panthers and Blackhawks. Chicago acquired Versteeg from the Panthers on Nov. 14, 2013, along with Phillipe Lefebvre for Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olsen. He had 10 goals, 29 points and was a plus-9 in 63 regular-season games for the Blackhawks.

The setback is disappointing news for Versteeg, who had major knee surgery in 2013 while with the Panthers.

"It looks like he found that stride he was looking for," Quenneville said. "We want to get him back to that pace when he gets back. We'll get excited again when he gets closer to getting back to our lineup. Certainly he's upset, and it's all part of our game."

Versteeg was expected to start the season playing right wing on the third line alongside left wing Bryan Bickell and center Brad Richards. Right wing Ben Smith is the likely candidate to replace Versteeg on the third line.

There's also a chance forwards Daniel Carcillo and Jeremy Morin are given extended ice time. It doesn't appear as though the Blackhawks will recall top prospect Teuvo Teravainen, No. 5 on NHL.com's Top 60 prospects ranking, from the Rockford IceHogs in the American Hockey League.

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