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Two Kings have broken bones

Willie Mitchell and Alexei Ponikarovsky are expected to be out four to six weeks.

November 08, 2010|By Helene Elliott

The Kings' depth will be tested over the next month while two veterans recover from fractures.

An MRI exam on defenseman Willie Mitchell's left wrist revealed a fracture that wasn't detected by X-rays, a club spokesman said Monday. The injury, incurred during the Kings' 4-1 victory over Nashville on Saturday, will keep Mitchell out of the lineup four to six weeks. He's not expected to need surgery.

Left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky suffered a fractured finger during the same game and is expected to sit out about four weeks. He is not expected to need surgery, either.

Mitchell, signed as a free agent last summer, has been a key part of the Kings' early success as a shutdown defenseman and defense partner for Drew Doughty. Mitchell has a goal, five points and a plus-7 defensive rating in 13 games.

Ponikarovsky, also signed as a free agent last summer, has two goals, four points and a plus-2 rating and excelled defensively on the third line alongside Michal Handzus and Wayne Simmonds.

The Kings did not put either player on injured reserve or summon replacements from Manchester of the American Hockey League. Personnel moves could be made Tuesday, when they resume practice after a two-day break.

The double loss comes when the Kings are tied for the most points in the Western Conference with a 10-3-0 record, including 6-0-0 at home. They have won four games in a row and five of their last six, but they've had a light schedule recently and on Thursday will play for only the third time in eight days.

They came through the absence of defensemen Matt Greene and Drew Doughty in good shape and will have to rely on the organization's stockpiled talent again. Peter Harrold has been a healthy scratch and could easily step in on defense, and rookie center Brayden Schenn, a healthy scratch the past two games, might win a regular role.

helene.elliott@latimes.com

twitter.com/helenenothelen

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