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Report: Ryan Malone might miss up to two months with abdominal injury

Tampa Bay Lightning v New Jersey Devils

XXXX XXXXX#00 of the Tampa Bay Lighning checks XXX XXXX #99 of the New Jersey Devils in the first period of an NHL hockey game at the Prudential Center on January 9, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.

Paul Bereswill

The Tampa Bay Lightning appear to be in the driver’s seat in the Southeast Division, as they hold a four point lead and four more wins over the Washington Capitals. There are still plenty of games left, though, and things just got that much tougher for the Bolts.

Erik Erlendsson reports that Ryan Malone could be out for up to two months with what might be a torn abdominal muscle.

It’s important to note that this is far from an official injury report, as Erlendsson writes that the team hasn’t determined the exact severity of the injury just yet. The Lightning are currently gathering medical opinions on the matter, so at the moment, Malone will be listed as day-to-day.

Still, that two month estimate came from Lightning head coach Guy Boucher, so it’s not like that window of time is totally out of order. Such a window would sideline the tough forward until the beginning of the playoffs.

Malone might not be a marquee talent along the lines of Steven Stamkos, but he is a player who regularly shows a willingness to go to the toughest areas in front of the net, not to mention the kind of skill it takes to finish such chances. The gritty forward is having a slightly slower goal-scoring season (11 in 2010-11 after scoring at least 21 goals the previous three campaigns), but he will absolutely be missed if this reading is correct.

We will keep you updated as the team gathers information about Malone’s injury.