Kings star defenseman Doughty suffers upper-body injury; return timeline uncertain

L.A. star defenseman Drew Doughty left Thursday’s game against the Sharks after suffering what the team is only referring to as an upper-body injury. If he’s out for any great length of time, the Kings are in trouble.

Los Angeles Kings star blueliner Drew Doughty joined the growing ranks of the NHL’s injured Thursday when he was sidelined with what appears to be an injured left shoulder.

The Kings would only say Doughty suffered an upper-body injury when they announced he wouldn’t return after he was hurt in the first period in L.A.’s game against San Jose. Doughty drove his shoulder into Sharks forward Tyler Kennedy at the 11:38 mark and favored his shoulder before leaving the ice.

The 24-year-old Doughty was in the midst of another excellent season, averaging 25:58 a game – sixth-best among all NHL players – and amassing 10 goals and 37 points in 77 games heading into Thursday’s action. The Kings were always going to be in a dogfight to make it out of the ultra-competitive Pacific Division, but if Doughty is out of the lineup for any great length of time, Los Angeles is going to have an extremely difficult time of keeping pace with, say, a deeper Sharks defense corps in the first round of the playoffs.

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