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Blues' Schwartz out 12 weeks with fractured left ankle

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Blues forward Jaden Schwartz will be out at least 12 weeks after surgery to repair a fractured left ankle sustained at practice Friday.

Schwartz, who had four assists in seven games, was taking part in a warmup drill. He shot a puck and reached to get the rebound when he lost an edge and crashed into the net where goalie Brian Elliott was practicing.

Schwartz was transported to the Washington University Orthopedic Center, where he had surgery.

He will miss at least 41 games.

"I didn't think we anticipated the length of it," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said before the Blues played the New York Islanders on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; MSG+ 2, FS-MW). "Today is more of a scramble day. We'll just see what we got and then we'll really buckle down here over the weekend and prepare for how we're going to manufacture our lineup, so right now, it's kind of play this game as a sudden-death game, probably play a little shorter bench than we wanted to, and find out what looks like it sorts itself out."

The Blues recalled right wing Ty Rattie from Chicago of the American Hockey League on Friday and he will make his season debut against the Islanders.

"Long-term, if I was a player that was a three- or four-year player now, especially guys like [Dmitrij] Jaskin or Rattie … these type of players, I would look at this as an unbelievable opportunity because they're going to absorb Jaden's minutes," Hitchcock said. "They're the guys that we're going to have to count on; where we play them and who we play them with is going to be determined here over the weekend."

Schwartz, who has four assists in seven games, is coming off a season when he set NHL career highs in goals (28), assists (35) and points (63).

"We weren't expecting so much so soon on the injury front," captain David Backes said, "but that's reality, (and) we need to move past. We talked all camp and preseason about how we like our depth and we've got different guys who are going to step in and [Rattie] gets called up. Give him a shot, we'll roll healthy bodies back in as they come along. We're going to miss those guys, still got business to take care of with the rest of the guys that are in this room."

Forwards Scottie Upshall and Scott Gomez, who were brought into training camp on professional tryouts and earned one-year contracts, will take on more prominent roles. In addition to Schwartz, the Blues are without forwards Paul Stastny (broken foot), Patrik Berglund (shoulder) and Robby Fabbri (concussion).

"There's definitely opportunity to help out, fulfill more minutes," Upshall said. "At same time, [Stastny] and [Schwartz] are irreplaceable guys, two unbelievable players that are going to be missed. Everyone's got to pick up their game, [it] starts [Saturday] from our leaders down to our younger guys; [we] all have to be doing a little extra."

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