Erik Johnson left Thursday’s game early. ©2024, Micheline Veluvolu

Erik Johnson misses practice as other injured Sabres near returns

BUFFALO – Now, the Sabres have four players who are day to day with upper-body injuries.

Defenseman Erik Johnson, who missed Friday’s practice in LECOM Harborcenter, has joined the list. Phillipp Kurashev hit Johnson, 35, awkwardly into the end boards in the third period in Thursday’s 3-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, earning a five-minute major for boarding. Johnson immediately departed the game.

Two of the Sabres with upper-body injures – defenseman Mattias Samuelsson and winger Jeff Skinner – practiced Friday. Center Dylan Cozens sat out the session.

Coach Don Granato said decisions on the Sabres’ injured players – defenseman Henri Jokiharju practiced as an extra Friday despite being day to day with soreness – will be made this morning prior to their afternoon game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at KeyBank Center.

“We have three or four guys that are right on that cusp,” he said. “The positive is the one guy I feel comfortable with going through is Samuelsson was pushing hard today, which was nice to see. So, now, it’s more of a decision now does he have enough in him to get ready to go?”

Samuelsson practiced alongside Rasmus Dahlin. Skinner, meanwhile, skated at left wing alongside center Casey Mittelstadt and JJ Peterka. Skinner also took some reps on the power play.

With likely Johnson out and Jokiharju sore, defenseman Jacob Bryson, who began the season in Buffalo season before being waived and sent to the Rochester Americans, could make his first NHL appearance since Nov. 4.

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