The Minnesota Wild expect to be without leading scorer Zach Parise for 2-3 weeks after he suffered a foot contusion against the St. Louis Blues on Monday.
Parise blocked a first-period slap shot by Blues forward Alexander Steen with the instep of his left foot, then fell to the ice in pain before struggling to the bench. He returned for three shifts in the second period, then left the bench and didn't return.
The team announced Parise's injury and expected absence after he was examined by team doctors on Tuesday.
Even still, Parise skated with the Wild and took line rushes during Wednesday's morning skate, leading to speculation he might be available for their game against the Phoenix Coyotes. Coach Mike Yeo later said Parise did not feel comfortable enough to play.
"It shows what kind of guy he is" for trying, Yeo said. "He's an unbelievable competitor."
"I thought it felt good enough to try for pre-game skate," Parise said. "I was hoping to give it a shot."
Both Parise and general manager Chuck Fletcher told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on Tuesday that it could have been worse.
"I think we did dodge a little bit of a bullet with not having it broken or fractured or needing to get a surgery or anything on it," said Parise, who told the paper he's wearing a walking boot. "If there's any somewhat good news, that would be it."
Fletcher said he was expecting a longer absence.
"I think we were expecting 4-6 weeks, so to me, it's disappointing to lose Zach for any amount of time, but when you look at the number of foot injuries that you see, it very easily could have been the 4-6 week scenario, and then you're talking 15 or 20 games," he told the Star-Tribune. "As crazy at it sounds, we're actually fairly pleased with the doctor's opinion today."
Parise, who has 11 goals and leads the Wild with 22 points, will miss his first game since signing with Minnesota in July 2012. Aside from missing 69 games with a knee injury while playing for the New Jersey Devils in 2010-11, Parise has missed a total of three games during his other eight NHL seasons.