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Canucks' Kesler sidelined by broken foot

by Kevin Woodley

Ryan Kesler
Center - VAN
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 5
SOG: 15 | +/-: -4
VANCOUVER -- Vancouver center Ryan Kesler has a broken right foot and could miss the Canucks' busiest month of the season.

Coach Alain Vigneault said a CT scan taken on Wednesday morning revealed the fracture. He did not have a timeline for the return of his Selke Trophy-winning center, but it's bad timing for a team about to play 16 games in March.

"Any fracture is usually four to six weeks, depending on the nature of the fracture," Vigneault said. "Some are less -- hairline fractures. I haven't gotten at length with our doctors how long this will be."

There were reports Kesler was injured blocking a shot three games earlier, but Vigneault wasn't sure exactly when it happened, saying two previous x-rays on the foot that did not reveal a break. Kesler played the second-to-last shift of Tuesday night's 4-2 loss to Phoenix, but was spotted with a walking boot on his right foot Wednesday morning.

"Other than some discomfort he was handling it well, he was doing all the off-ice [work]," Vigneault said. "He told the doctor he still felt a little discomfort so just to have some peace of mind they decided to do a CT scan, and we didn't get the results we anticipated obviously since he had been playing and since he had been doing everything else."

Given that, Vigneault was asked if Kesler might keep playing.

"I would assume he'll be out for a little while," he said.

Kesler, who anchors the second line, kills penalties and works on the top power-play unit, has played only seven games after missing the first 12 recovering from shoulder and wrist surgeries last summer. The 2011 Selke Trophy-winner as the NHL's top defensive forward has one goal, four assists and a minus-4 rating in seven games.

Vancouver was 8-2-2 without Kesler to start the season, and is just 2-3-2 with him, though his return did coincide with the end of a long stretch of games within the Northwest Division, which the Canucks have dominated at 6-0-1.

With Kesler out, the Canucks are expected to call up Andrew Ebbett from the Chicago Wolves after the versatile forward cleared waivers and was sent down to the American Hockey on Feb. 19. Ebbett was pointless in five games in Vancouver this season, but had five goals and six points in 18 games with the Canucks in 2011-12.

Vancouver also placed fourth line forward Aaron Volpatti on waivers in the hopes of sending him down to the AHL to get more playing time. Volpatti was a healthy scratch in three of the last six games.

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