Sabres' top scorer leaves game with upper body injury

Updated: November 6, 2006, 11:05 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Maxim Afinogenov, the Buffalo Sabres' leading scorer, was knocked out of the team's 4-1 loss to Toronto in the first period Saturday night with an upper body injury.

The Buffalo News reported Sunday that the injury is believed to be a separated shoulder, which could keep Afinogenov out two to three weeks.

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, though, only referred to it as "an upper body injury," and refused to give a specific timetable on how long the speedy forward would be sidelined, other than saying it would be "a while."

"Are we going to miss him? D--- right, you're going to miss him," Ruff told the Buffalo News. "But it's somebody else's opportunity."

Afinogenov was hurt after being checked into the boards by Toronto defenseman Wade Belak. He played five shifts, totaling nearly four minutes, before heading to the dressing room. He didn't return.

Afinogenov, with eight goals and 11 assists, entered the night tied with Atlanta's Marian Hossa for second in scoring in the NHL. He had points in nine of Buffalo's first 13 contests and was on a three-game scoring streak before Saturday's loss to the Maple Leafs.

The Sabres recently lost Henrik Tallinder, one of their top defensemen, for six weeks because of a broken left forearm.

"We have to fight through these adversities," Sabres center Derek Roy said. "We need to bear down and play our game."

Afinogenov led the Sabres last season with a career-high 73 points, including 51 assists. He missed five games in November because of bruised ribs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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