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Rangers' Stepan out 4-6 weeks with broken fibula

by NHL.com Staff / NHL.com

New York Rangers center Derek Stepan sustained a non-displaced fractured fibula during an on-ice workout Wednesday and will miss 4-6 weeks.

According to Northjersey.com, Stepan was taking part in a full-rink sprint drill, but shortly after pushing off and trying to get up to speed, he fell to his knees. After sliding to a stop, Stepan was attended to on the ice and then helped off by teammates Mats Zuccarello and Martin St. Louis.

Stepan had not been on the ice since Saturday because of a foot contusion sustained blocking a Dan Girardi shot during an informal skate Sept. 9. Vigneault said Stepan had X-rays taken immediately after he was hit, again Sunday and again before skating Wednesday, and all came back negative.

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"[Stepan] had been feeling real good the last 48 hours," Vigneault said. "He took the third X-ray, everything looked normal, he was good to go and then he stepped on the ice."

The Rangers begin the regular season Oct. 9 against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center. If Stepan is out six weeks, he'll miss the Rangers' first 12 games, returning Nov. 8.

Stepan set career highs last season in assists (40), points (57), shots on goal (199), power-play goals (five), power-play assists (13) and power-play points (18) in 82 games. His 15 points in the Stanley Cup Playoffs were tied for second on the Rangers.

In four seasons, Stepan has not missed a regular-season game. He has missed one Stanley Cup Playoff game, Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Montreal Canadiens last season, after  he sustained a broken jaw on a hit by Brandon Prust in Game 3.

Vigneault said there are a number of options for filling Stepan's spot, among them Dominic Moore, J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes and Matthew Lombardi.

"I think we have a good list of potential candidates," Vigneault said. "Now we just need to get them in situations and see how they respond to the opportunity."

Moore has filled a prominent lineup role before. He moved into a top-six spot in the playoffs last season when Stepan and Derick Brassard were injured.

"When this has happened in the past, when [Stepan] went down against Montreal and [Brassard] went down, Dom is a guy who stepped up, so that's definitely in our possibilities, though we have to let this sort out, too," Vigneault said. "I think he [Moore] is ready to assume a bigger role, and I know that's what he'd like. I do know that when we needed him last year to pick up some ice time he came through for us."

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