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Canucks D Ballard leaves game with leg injury

NHL.com @NHL

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Vancouver defenseman Keith Ballard left Monday night's game against Ottawa early in the first period with a leg injury.

Ballard was taken down awkwardly from behind by Senators forward Milan Michalek just 2:23 into the game. The 28-year-old needed help from the trainers getting up and off the ice, and wasn't putting any weight on his right leg as he hopped to the locker room.

Ballard was acquired from Florida as the key part of a five-player trade at last summer's draft, but hasn't had the expected impact for league-leading Vancouver. He has five points in 42 games and is averaging just 16 minutes of ice time playing mostly on the Canucks' third pairing.

Vancouver is already missing top defenseman Alex Edler, who had back surgery last week.

Rookie Lee Sweatt, who had a goal and an assist in his first three NHL games, is also out indefinitely after breaking his foot in practice Saturday - just before the Canucks planned to send him to the AHL.

Defenseman Andrew Alberts did return Monday after missing eight games with a shoulder injury, and veteran Sami Salo is expected back from a conditioning stint in the AHL later this week after missing the entire season with a torn Achilles' tendon.

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