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Kings' defense hurting: Mitchell is week-to-week, Greene is back in L.A. for tests

Greetings from Nashville, where a Garth Brooks concert prevented the Kings from practicing at Bridgestone Arena on Friday and sent them to the Predators’ practice rink near Vanderbilt University.

Defensemen Matt Greene and Willie Mitchell missed practice and won’t play Saturday.

Greene, still feeling the effects of a hit to the head Monday at Detroit, stayed overnight in St. Louis before returning Friday morning to Los Angeles. He’s scheduled to undergo tests to determine why he has been feeling wobbly and will be reevaluated next week.

Mitchell, who suffered an unspecified lower-body injury during the Kings’ 6-4 loss at St. Louis on Thursday, saw a doctor in Nashville on Friday afternoon and a club spokesman said the veteran defenseman is week-to-week. He will stay with the team and get treatment while the team finishes this five-game trip.

And lest we forget … forward Brad Richardson, back in L.A. with what’s believed to be a concussion, has been riding the bike and skated in El Segundo on Friday. His status is day-to-day.

The defense pairs Friday were Rob Scuderi-Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson-Peter Harrold and Alec Martinez-Davis Drewiske.

Murray said he planned to speak to General Manager Dean Lombardi about calling someone up before Saturday’s game against the Predators because that’s the first in a back-to-back sequence that ends at Chicago, so the pairs could change. But Lombardi later said via e-mail that he's holding off because of roster issues for the upcoming holiday trade freeze and the possibility of Marco Sturm being activated in the next few days.

One notable change up front: Kyle Clifford was skating on the left with Michal Handzus and Wayne Simmonds, in place of Alexei Ponikarovsky. Clifford got considerable time in that spot Thursday and apparently isn’t giving back to Ponikarovsky.

Or, as Murray put it, “I wasn’t real pleased with what was going on with the other player on that left side, to be quite honest.”

Ouch.

Murray also said Sturm has looked so good in practice he might get the newly acquired left wing into the lineup sooner than he expected. Murray had planned to get Sturm into the lineup next Wednesday but could do that before this trip ends Tuesday at Denver.

Also, Jonathan Bernier will start in goal, ending Jonathan Quick’s streak of eight straight starts. This had been scheduled for a while because Bernier shut out the Predators here March 30 and beat them at Staples Center Nov. 6 for the last of his two victories this season.
We’ll have more later at www.latimes.com/sports

-- Helene Elliott in Nashville

 
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