Defenseman Cam Fowler, a U.S. Olympian who leads the Ducks in ice time per game, suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee and will miss three to five weeks, the team announced Wednesday.
Fowler, 22, suffered the injury Friday when hit along the boards by Colorado forward Patrick Bordeleau. An MRI exam conducted Tuesday revealed the extent of the injury.
"It's not what we wanted, but we will get through it," Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We know Cam will work hard to get back, and in the meantime, guys will step up. Another example of why having depth is important."
Fowler — who averages 23 minutes 54 seconds per game — has six goals and 30 assists for the Ducks (45-17-7), who play Thursday at Pacific Division co-leader San Jose (45-18-7). If Fowler misses five weeks, he would not return until the first round of the playoffs.
The team has shifted defensive pairs recently, putting Fowler's former sidekick Ben Lovejoy with rookie Hampus Lindholm, and Francois Beauchemin with Luca Sbisa, instead of Lindholm.
Lindholm, who had two assists in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals, has replaced Fowler on the power play.
Stephane Robidas, the veteran defenseman the Ducks acquired from the Dallas on March 4, made his debut Tuesday, paired with veteran Bryan Allen.
The 37-year-old Robidas played for the first time since breaking his leg on Nov. 29. In 13 minutes 32 seconds of ice time, Robidas finished minus-one, had his only shot blocked, and delivered three hits.
"Conditioning was fine, I was just out of position a bit," Robidas said after the loss. "Little things will come the more I play and practice with the guys. It wasn't my best, but first one's out of the way. I want to get myself in order and help the team win. That's all that matters."
Boudreau said it was unclear whether center Nick Bonino would be able to play Thursday after being hit on the foot with a shot last week.
Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf hasn't scored a goal in nine games since winning a gold medal in Sochi, and the power-play group he leads is mired in a staggering two-for-48 slump.
Yet, Getzlaf said he has confidence that he and the Ducks are as close to breaking through as the puck he fired that hit the right post Tuesday night. He said the team effectively disregarded power-play practice Wednesday.
"You can beat that thing to death … In a situation like this, it's a pretty high-pressure situation and I think we're overreacting to things at times," Getzlaf said. "Our group played two very good hockey games on the weekend; we have one game we don't, and it's kind of treated like it's the end of the world. Last time I checked, we were still tied with San Jose."
The Ducks play the Sharks one other time, April 9 in Anaheim.
AT SAN JOSE
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 830.
Etc.: It's the usual suspects producing for the Sharks. Center Joe Pavelski has 34 goals and 32 assists. Center Joe Thornton has 56 assists, two behind league leader Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh. Forward Patrick Marleau has 28 goals and 32 assists.
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