Sarnia Sting forward Nail Yakupov, considered by many to be the odds on favorite to get selected first at the 2012 NHL Draft in June, was forced to sit out Saturday's game against the Saginaw Spirit after taking a check to the head one day earlier.
According to local reports, head coach and general manager Jacques Beaulieu of the Sting is taking a "wait and see" approach with his star player at this moment.
"He hasn't been feeling that well since," Beaulieu said. "He's got a really sore back and is getting some light headaches, too. We don't know. We're just playing it by ear right now, giving him some rest and hopefully he can start skating with us [Wednesday]. We're not sure, we're going to have wait and see."
Yakupov, who has 16 goals, 43 points and a plus-17 rating in 22 games this season, was injured after taking a hit from Garret Ross of the Spirit last Friday. Ross received a five-minute major and a game misconduct on the play.
On Sept. 16, Yakupov's linemate and fellow Russian countryman, Alex Galchenyuk, suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during a preseason game against the Windsor Spitfires. He has since undergone surgery but is still four months from returning to the lineup.
The Sting will next play host to the Barrie Colts on Thursday before meeting the Niagara IceDogs on Saturday.
The injuries to Yakupov and Galchenyuk certainly aren't isolated incidents this season in the Canadian Hockey League. There are several other top blue-chip players watching from the stands. In the Western Hockey League, Everett Silvertips defenseman Ryan Murray (high ankle sprain), Edmonton Oil Kings defenseman Griffin Reinhart (shoulder) and Moose Jaw Warriors defenseman Morgan Rielly (season-ending knee surgery) have been shelved, although Murray resumed skated on Tuesday.
In the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Halifax Mooseheads right wing Martin Frk hasn't played a game this season due to a concussion.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale