VANCOUVER – Ryan Kesler’s return to the Vancouver Canucks lineup lasted just seven games.
The Canucks announced Wednesday that their second-line centre has a broken right foot and could be sidelined for up to six weeks. Canucks coach Alain Vigneault told reporters the fracture showed up on a CT scan Wednesday morning.
“I assume Kesler will be out for a little while,” Vigneault said.
Vigneault did not say exactly when the injury occurred, but indicated that Kesler may have played with it before the results of the CT scan revealed the fracture. The injury didn’t seem to show in Vancouver’s 4-2 loss to Phoenix on Tuesday, when Kesler had an assist in just over 19 minutes of ice time.
“He’s blocked a few shots since he’s been back,” Vigneault said. “That foot had taken two X-rays. He’s been playing. Other than some discomfort he was handling it well.
“Yesterday he came in and told the doctor he still felt a little discomfort so just for peace of mind they decided to do a CT scan. We didn’t get the results we had been anticipating obviously.”
Kesler did not practise with the Canucks Wednesday and was seen wearing an air cast before the team confirmed the injury.
It’s a major setback for Kesler, who finally returned to action two weeks ago after he took longer than expected to recuperate from off-season shoulder surgery. He provided an immediate boost to the Canucks second line when he returned, putting up a goal and five assists before his latest setback.
Kesler has 154 goals and 188 assists in 568 career games, all with the Canucks. He had a breakout year in 2009-10 with 25 goals and 50 assists, and followed that with a 41 goals and 32 assists in 2010-11.
Vigneault wouldn’t confirm who would take Kesler’s place on Vancouver’s second line, but said Andrew Ebbett was “a possibility, most likely.”