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Kings say Ryan Smyth might miss six weeks, not just four

December 3, 2009 | 12:35 pm

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Left wing Ryan Smyth, who suffered an upper-body injury on Nov. 16 that is believed to involve his ribs, might miss as much as six weeks' playing time instead of four.

The official word from the Kings had been that Smyth would be out for four weeks. But Coach Terry Murray said today the timetable for the valuable forward's return had been extended because he wanted to be sure Smyth was fully recovered.

"This is a change," Murray said. "Because I'm playing doctor, and I wanted to make sure that he's 100% on this. There's no way that players need to go back in if they're not cleared and ready to get going. It will be four weeks minimum before he's cleared."

Asked about his first-time use of an upper range of six weeks, Murray said, "Here it is today. It's four to six weeks. It will be a minimum of four weeks. I didn't hear the announcement on the first one, but it is a minimum of four weeks from the time the injury happened."

Four weeks would put Smyth at Dec. 14. Six weeks would be Dec. 28. The Kings have an eight-day break in December, playing at Calgary on Dec. 17 and then not again until Dec. 26 at Phoenix, so it now appears possible Smyth won't return until after that break.

Smyth has been skating since last weekend but wears a red non-contact jersey. He took to the ice after his teammates had finished their morning skate today, skating with defenseman Rob Scuderi and backup goaltender Erik Ersberg.

Murray said he was hoping Scuderi would be able to play tonight against Ottawa after missing seven games because of a lower-body injury -- believed to be an ankle -- but Scuderi's presence on the ice well after his teammates left seemed to indicate he wasn't saving energy for the game and would probably sit out.

In explaining the new timetable for Smyth, Murray said the winger had not suffered a setback.

"As soon as he is cleared to play, he's going into the lineup, whether it's one game or two games," Murray said. "The sooner the better for the team. For him. He's anxious. He's out there. He's almost doing a little bit too much when he does get on the ice for the public skating sessions. We're all eager to get him back and get him ready to go."

No one more eager, probably, than Smyth's center, Anze Kopitar - -who hasn't scored since Smyth was hurt and is at 0-for-10 games -- or right wing Justin Williams, who broke an 0-for-8 goal drought with a goal in the Kings' 4-3 victory over the Ducks on Tuesday at Anaheim.

More soon at www.latimes.com/sports

-- Helene Elliott

Photo: Ryan Smyth of the Kings, right, battles the Florida Panthers' Gregory Campbell for the puck in a Nov. 16 game in Florida. Credit: J. Pat Carter / Associated Press

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