Back injury suffered in practice could sideline Rangers’ Rick Nash

New York Rangers left winger Rick Nash may be forced to miss Friday’s game following a back injury suffered in practice. Nash, 31, has one goal in 12 games this season.

The New York Rangers will play the first of two back-to-back road games Friday night when they head to Colorado, but they could be without Rick Nash for one or both outings.

In practice Thursday, Nash tweaked his back during a drill and had to leave the ice. Following the Rangers practice, coach Alain Vigneault said Nash was day-to-day and was unsure of his status for Friday’s tilt against the Avalanche.

“I just threw it out, I couldn’t move, it locked up,” Nash told’s Andrew Gross. “I’ve had locked up backs but the last two and a half years, I’ve been pretty good that way. I just have to put my trust in the trainers and…get it to keep moving. It felt good the first three drills, then I twisted it and it went out on me.”

Nash added that he would see how it felt Friday, but that they would need to do more treatment to hopefully get his back in game shape. Nash missed six games in 2011 due to a back injury.

“These things can turn around quickly or sometimes they might go for a couple of days,” Vigneault told Gross. “[Trainer Jim Ramsay] was just telling me this happened two years ago and he missed three days or so. I don’t know if it’s the exact same thing.”

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Through 12 games this season, Nash has had trouble finding the back of the net. He has managed six points this season, but only one goal, which game in his eighth game of the year. At this point in 2014-15, Nash had already racked up 10 goals, and he finished last campaign with 42 goals in 79 games. It was Nash’s highest-scoring season as a Ranger and the first time he had eclipsed the 40-goal plateau since his sophomore season with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Nash has also seen his ice time dip by more than one minute per game in 2015-16. After skating an average of 17:27 in 2014-15, Nash has logged 16:25 per game this season with his season low coming in the Blueshirts’ second game of the year when he played a mere 14 minutes.

Vigneault said Emerson Etem, who has been a healthy scratch in nine games this year, would take Nash’s place if he couldn’t suit up Friday. In his three games this season, Etem has one assist and has played less than 11 minutes per game. Etem was one of the major pieces involved in the Anaheim Ducks’ acquisition of Carl Hagelin from the Rangers at the June draft.