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McDavid out 2-3 weeks for Oilers with quad injury

Center not expected to be sidelined long term, GM says @NHLdotcom

Connor McDavid will be out 2-3 weeks for the Edmonton Oilers with a left quad injury.

"That's a normal timeline for this injury," Oilers general manager Ken Holland said Tuesday. "We're hoping it can be a little bit less, no surgery. It's not long term. We'll double back a week from now to find out if it's more serious. We know what it is, it's a quad injury, it's going to heal. It's just going to need time for treatment."

The Oilers placed McDavid on injured reserve Friday, retroactive to Feb. 9, and recalled forward Markus Granlund from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League. They play at the Florida Panthers on Saturday (4 p.m. ET; FS-F, SNW, NHL.TV).

McDavid was injured during a 3-2 win against the Nashville Predators on Feb. 8. The center went into the boards after being checked by Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro at 3:58 of the second period, iced the knee between periods, played 5:47 in the third and was on the ice at the buzzer.

"I just banged it," McDavid said Monday. "Just a little sore and swollen. I took an extra day here, and we'll see how it feels tomorrow. It's kind of like a charley horse, kind of lower part of the quad, top of the knee part. It was really sore. A bit of a grind, but I just tried to work through it."

Holland said McDavid, who practiced Monday and took part in power-play drills before leaving early, went to Toronto to work with his rehab team.

"He's got his team of people there and he's going to do his treatment there when we're on the road trip. We expect to see Connor back here when we get back next Monday," Holland said.

The Oilers defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3 on Tuesday and started their three-game road trip with a 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. After playing the Panthers, they are at the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday. 

McDavid has 81 points (30 goals, 51 assists) in 55 games this season, nine points behind teammate Leon Draisaitl for the NHL lead. Edmonton (30-21-6) is tied with the Vegas Golden Knights and Calgary Flames for second in the Pacific Division, three points behind the Vancouver Canucks. 

"He's the best player in the world," Draisaitl said. "If he's missing on any team, you know it hurts. We're not going to find a way around that. But we have to come in with the right mindset and find our own game away from him. Without him, it's going to be a tight-checking group in here that's going to defend like crazy and try to win games that way. I think we have the guys in here to do that. I'm very confident in this group."

Oilers goalie Mike Smith agreed with Draisaitl.

"The challenge for the veteran guys in this locker room is to make sure we rise to the challenge, and not taking it as doomsday in here," Smith said. "Knowing Connor, he'll be doing everything he can to make sure he bets back as soon as possible. In the meantime, we're in an important time of the season where points are not going to come easy."

Coach Dave Tippett said the Oilers will have to adjust without McDavid.

"We'll figure that out, still working on that," Tippett said. "All I know is we have 12 forwards now and they'll all play. I think this team has grown a lot and I'm really interested to see how we come along. Lots of teams around the League have injuries and I'm interested to see how this impacts us. I've stressed from camp we have to play well as a team and this puts us to the test. It's our team concept that'll pull us through."

Holland said how the Oilers play without McDavid could impact their approach to the NHL Trade Deadline, which is Feb. 24.

According to Sportsnet, prior to Tuesday, the Oilers averaged 2.17 goals per game in 41 games without McDavid (15-19-7), and 2.88 goals per game in the 342 he had played for them (163-148-31). The Oilers scored on 27 percent of their power plays with McDavid, and on 13.6 percent when he did not play.

"The win-loss record is going to affect my thinking," Holland said. "We have seven games before the deadline, so we have to win some hockey games to continue to be in a position to do something." 

This is the second injury to McDavid's left leg in the past 10 months. He had multiple tears in his left knee and a broken tibia after hitting the goal post during the final game last season on April 6. He revealed last month that he declined to have surgery so he would be able to play this season.

Holland said the quad injury is totally unrelated to the injury from April, and that despite the results of the MRI taken Monday, McDavid wanted to keep playing.  

"He wants to be in the lineup tonight. He was not happy he's out, he wants to play, he understands these games are big, it's fun time of the year and he wants to be a part of it," Holland said. "I know when we were together last night, he was disappointed and he's motivated to get back. I know he wants to get back as quickly as possible."

Tippett said, "You lose a guy like Connor everybody's saying, 'What's going on here?' But he's in good spirits and they've said 2-3 weeks and we'll see. He's anxious to get back already. … We'll miss him on the power play, that's a big bite not having him, and someone else will get a chance. And obviously we'll get a few less (5-on-5) chances because he generates so much on his own." independent correspondent Derek Van Diest contributed to this story

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