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by Brian Wheeler / Buffalo Sabres
A trio of Sabres - Drew Stafford, Paul Gaustad and Maxim Afinogenov - were absent from practice Thursday morning, the youngest of the three having the most serious injury of the group.

The Sabres will be without Stafford's services for an unknown duration of time.  Stafford sustained a concussion in Wednesday night's 5-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators, according to head coach Lindy Ruff.

"You're looking at him needing to be symptom free before moving forward," said Ruff.

Stafford took just two shifts - one at even strength and one on the Sabres final power play -  in the last 15 minutes of  Wednesday's contest after being involved with a four player collision near the Ottawa blueline five minutes into the final frame.

Carrying the puck into the offensive zone, Thomas Vanek was checked into Stafford's legs by Wade Redden at the very same instance that Chris Neil dealt a hit from the opposite side. 

Stafford skated to the bench but was replaced by Daniel Paille on his next shift.  


Listen to Lindy Ruff's entire press conference on by clicking below.

Lindy Ruff Interview 
The timetable for Stafford's return will depend on how quickly his concussion symptoms dissipate.

In 32 games this season, Stafford has scored eight goals and 15 points. 

The Sabres lineup could be without Gaustad for the first time this season in New Jersey.  One of only nine Sabres to see action in all 35 games, Gaustad suffered a strain in his arm against Ottawa and is listed as day-to-day.

"Paul may be available or he may not," said Ruff regarding Gaustad's status for Friday.

Gaustad has six goals and 18 points in 35 games for the Sabres this season.

Afinogenov was held out of practice for precautionary reasons after he "felt his groin," according to Ruff.

"We think he'll be OK to play," said Ruff.  "It was precautionary by getting him off [the ice]."

Afinogenov has seven goals and 18 points in 35 games but has shown improved offensive production of late with seven points - three goals and four assists - in as many games.
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