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Injury bugs bite lingers

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LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 02:  Jaden Schwartz #9 of the St. Louis Blues looks on against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on December 2, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images) By Jeff Gross LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 02: Jaden Schwartz #9 of the St. Louis Blues looks on against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on December 2, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images) By Jeff Gross

(HockeySTL)-- The Blues may be shorthanded awhile longer. St. Louis has been without forwards Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Sobotka for the past two games and there’s a chance that both will miss one more game before returning to action.

Schwartz and Sobotka were both on the ice for Wednesday’s optional skate. The forwards skated for about 30 minutes, but limited themselves to mostly shooting and passing drills with little physical exertion. Their return to practice ice does not mean that they will be suiting up for Thursday’s game against Montreal.

“I wouldn’t say that,” said Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock. “If the game was today, neither one would be ready. We will see how they feel the rest of the day and how they feel (Thursday) in the morning skate.”

The Blues were also without captain David Backes in Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to San Jose. Backes left Monday’s game in Ottawa with an upper-body injury and will not be available for Thursday’s matchup. He is currently being monitored by the team for concussion symptoms and his return is not imminent.

“He’s out, period,” said Hitchcock. “He hasn’t skated yet, hasn’t been cleared to do anything yet, so he’s out.”

The Blues have chosen to stick with the players they have, and have not called up anyone from the American Hockey League as of yet. But that could change pending the availability of players in the near future. Currently, the Blues’ roster is full with 23 skaters. In order to call up a player, the team would have to place one of their three injured forwards on injured reserve. The Blues have no intention of doing that just yet.

“Our situation is pretty fluid right now,” said Hitchcock “If our roster is (the same) that played against San Jose, that is the way we will play. If we can add a player or two, we will see.”

National Hockey League rules require a player placed on the IR to sit out seven days. If the Blues place any of the three players on the IR, the move would be retroactive to the player’s last game played. In the case of Schwartz and Sobotka, both would miss Thursday’s game against Montreal and Saturday’s game against Edmonton. Backes would miss those two games and next Monday’s game against Calgary.

If the Blues opted to place one of their forwards on the IR, Dmitrij Jaskin would be a prime candidate for call-up. Jaskin has seven goals, 14 points in 18 games with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. Jaskin also spent some time with the Blues last season, should experience be a factor in the Blues’ decision.

For now, the Blues plan to take it day-by-day, but the club will eventually be forced to make a decision if the injuries to their players continue to linger.

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