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Injury to Tampa Bay Lightning's Victor Hedman not clear-cut, coach Guy Boucher says.

TAMPA — Though D Victor Hedman is listed as day to day with an undisclosed upper-body injury, it doesn't appear he's close to returning to the Lightning lineup.

Hedman, who left Tuesday's game against the Flyers after a bad fall into the boards in the first period, hasn't been on the ice with the team or available to the media since.

Coach Guy Boucher indicated Thursday that the injury isn't a black-and-white issue with a set timetable for a return. The team plans to evaluate him each day.

"It's really hard to say," Boucher said. "I'd love to say he's out for a while and it's clear. It's really day to day."

Though Hedman's absence leaves a huge void, the team did get D Matt Gilroy back Thursday against the Canadiens. He had been out since Dec. 15 due to a lower-body injury.

Gilroy had been playing the role of a top-paring defenseman at times before he got hurt. On Thursday, Pavel Kubina played with Eric Brewer in the top group.

"I'm good to go," Gilroy said. "Just take it simple and not try to do too much."

Boucher said he just wanted Gilroy to play a calm game. Gilroy's problem early this season was being a bit erratic, Boucher said.

The defenseman got better but reverted back in a few games before the injury.

"He's got good skills, good vision, he can really surprise you offensively," Boucher said. "That's why he's with us.

"He's one of those guys that has to learn the trade of being a defenseman, being reliable, and bring his offensive tools after that's all taken care of, and I thought he learned that quite fast since the beginning of the year.

"And he eventually was playing against the top lines for a while because we had injuries, and he did fine."

MEDICAL MATTERS: C Nate Thompson (lower body) was scratched again. He is not recovering as quickly as Boucher hoped. Thompson hasn't played since Dec. 17, but he has been skating with the team in practice this week.

"He's one of those guys that works so hard and battles so hard, he's going to get into those battles, and it'd be a little too early to get into those battles now," Boucher said. "And I feel that he's not quite ready yet."

Roster moves: D Evan Oberg was recalled from AHL Norfolk as insurance for an injury-depleted defense. He was scratched. … The Lightning announced the signing of forward Pierre-Cedric Labrie to a two-year, two-way contract. No terms were announced. He was assigned to Norfolk.

MISCELLANY: There was no additional discipline by the league stemming from the bench scrum in the Flyers game. … The Lightning won't practice today.

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@tampabay.com. Follow the Times' Lightning coverage on the Web at lightning.tampabay.com and on Twitter at @LightningTimes.

Injury to Tampa Bay Lightning's Victor Hedman not clear-cut, coach Guy Boucher says. 12/29/11 [Last modified: Friday, December 30, 2011 12:18am]
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