The Buffalo Sabres could be without star Ryan O'Reilly for a month after the center suffered an injury, the team announced on Sunday.
According to ESPN, coach Dan Bylsma said that O'Reilly is dealing with a lower-body injury, and that he could be out for three to four weeks with the issue. The team did not clarify exactly what type of injury that O'Reilly suffered. O'Reilly was held out against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday and after the game Bylsma announced the news that O'Reilly would be on the sidelines for an extended period of time.
O'Reilly was originally injured on Friday in a 4-0 Sabres victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Sabres have been playing well over the last two weeks, going undefeated over the last four games, and putting up a 5-2-3 record over the last 10 games. The team now will hit the road for three games on the West Coast against the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings.
Losing O'Reilly is a big blow for the Sabres, as he has been one of the most productive players on the team this season. O'Reilly is the team leader with 49 points, and he was the only player from Buffalo to make it into the All-Star game. John Vogl at the Buffalo News writes that the Sabres will "be tested" without O'Reilly in the lineup.
Vogl writes that O'Reilly wears a number of hats for the Sabres, including on special teams and in the face-off circle. According to Vogl and NHL stats, O'Reilly is the league leader in average ice time among forwards, and he also is first in the league in faceoff wins and draws taken.
"He's your No. 1 guy, and that's something you can't replace," Bylsma said to the Buffalo News.
The Sabres are not currently in the playoffs mix in the East this season, but the team is hoping to finish the year close to, or above the .500 mark. The team is currently 24-29-7 with 55 points this season.