OTTAWA - Ottawa Senators center Kyle Turris is out indefinitely with a sprained ankle that's been nagging him since Dec. 5 when he collided with New York Islanders forward Casey Czikas.
Turris aggravated the injury against the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 18 and missed six games.
"It's been frustrating," said Turris, who hasn't had a point in 15 games and is without a goal in 26 games. "I've been just trying to help out in any way I can. We just kind of came to the determination that it's just hard to get around the ice now. We made the decision to get better.
"I was just trying to help the team any way I could. Obviously, in terms of production I wasn't doing that very well, but I was just trying to do anything I could."
Turris had been playing on a line with Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone.
Centers Mika Zibanejad and Jean-Gabriel Pageau will likely get the biggest chance to play Turris' minutes. Curtis Lazar, who has played most of the season on the wing, will likely get more time at center.
Senators coach Dave Cameron said he's taking the committee approach to replacing his top center.
"We're staying all options open," he said. "We don't have anybody pegged that they have to have to put on their Superman cloak and do something that's outside of what they're capable of.
"Just everybody maybe a little more focused, maybe a little more excited, because they know they're going to be getting some ice time that normally Kyle would take."
Zibanejad had a natural hat trick to help the Senators to a 6-4 victory against the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
"I know I need to step up my game, with him or without him in the lineup," Zibanejad said. "I know what I have to do. When he's gone it adds a little more, but it's not different than before."
"You're losing a real good hockey player who's been real courageous who hasn't been at the top of his game because of factors out of his control," Cameron said. "We're going to miss him. It's tough if you want to deal with the emotion side of it and see the commitment he's put in and how disappointed he is. From a performance point, it's the right thing to do."
Turris tried to play through the injury, but in consultation with Murray and the Senators training staff, the decision was made Monday to shut him down indefinitely.
Turris said it was a difficult decision from his standpoint.
"We talked about it at different points here," he said. "When I came back from the [All-Star] break we all talked and there was no threat of a long-term injury or getting it to the point where it needed surgery or anything. It was just trying to tolerate what was there and getting through it. It just kind of progressively got worse and more fatigued, and tougher to get around the ice to the point we're at now.
"It's been a battle I've been trying to get through. Everybody has something. It was just trying to work with what you've got."
Turris relies on a good first step and said he was unable to do that because of the injury.
"I don't think I had any agility in that sort of sense," he said. "My jump from a start, trying to get that explosiveness, that's a big part of my game. That was a frustrating part."
Cameron said Turris' performance lately made it clear the best action was to give him time to recover even with the Senators still in a battle for a position in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Ottawa is four points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
"It's not hard when the timing is right and you can't play. It doesn't matter where you are (in the standings). If you can't perform, you have to make the decision," Cameron said.
There was some good news for the Senators on Monday. Veteran wing Clarke MacArthur, who has been out since October because of a concussion, could return this week.
"I think we're starting to play better and I think adding MacArthur and maybe bringing up one more young man from our minor league team might help us," Murray said. "If there was something that really made sense [at the deadline], we would definitely try to do that, but not only four points out, I think Pittsburgh has two or three games in hand on us as well.
"We understand where we are. We know we have a good team. We know we can take a run. We've got a good group to do that. To go out and give away a top young player or a top draft pick to get somebody that we're not sure of is probably not in the books right now."