Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray had surgery to repair a broken hand Monday and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
The injury occurred when Murray blocked a shot in the first period of a 5-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.
"I have a plan for him after the operation, once the doctors give us the go-ahead," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "I think we can use this time to benefit him as far as making sure we stay on top of his conditioning. I think … we have a plan for him as far as when he comes back. I'm not sure what the timetable is. But we're going to get him on the ice as quickly as possible so he has his legs when he does get the opportunity to get back in."
Tortorella thinks Murray can skate on his own without a stick during his recovery.
"As long as the doctor okays it and our trainers are OK with it, with padding, because he could fall down," Tortorella said. "We don't want to put him in a bad spot. But it gives us a chance, because it's a hand injury, not to forget about his legs. We need to be really diligent there. I think he can be a really important guy. If we go down the road we're going down now and we get a chance to play in the postseason, I think he could be a very important guy for us.
"I don't think he can afford to be off the ice that amount of time because of a hand injury. I think we have to get his legs on the ice. Not on a bike, not on a treadmill, on the ice. And we're going to be really diligent there."
Murray, 23, has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 60 games this season. Chosen by the Blue Jackets with the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, Murray has 60 points (11 goals, 49 assists) in 220 NHL games, and was one of three Columbus players (Boone Jenner, Gregory Campbell) to appear in all 82 games last season.
The Blue Jackets (43-18-6) trail the Pittsburgh Penguins by two points for second place in the Metropolitan Division and play the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Monday (7 p.m. ET; SN1, SNE, SNO, CSN-PH, FS-O, NHL.TV).