Rick Nash just can't stay healthy this season.
The Columbus Blue Jackets' star forward, who has already missed 11 games this season with a high right ankle sprain, suffered an injury to his left knee during the third period of last night's 2-1 loss to the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome.
He was skating into Calgary's end when he was hit knee-on-knee by a Flame while trying to skate by defenceman Rhett Warrener.
A team spokesman said Nash is out indefinitely.
"I know I'm definitely not playing" tonight in Vancouver, Nash said after the game.
"There's no point getting more frustrated. I don't know what to do anymore.
"It's part of the game. It's an injury. I've got to stay positive.
"We'll let it calm down through the weekend and check it out Monday."
Nash was playing in only his second game after returning from the high-ankle sprain and skated gingerly all evening.
Earlier yesterday, Nash got a scare during the morning skate when he went feet-first into the boards.
"It was kind of deja vu, that's how the (ankle) injury kind of happened in the first place," said Nash, who suffered the original injury during training camp.
"I've got it taped up pretty good so it won't twist but I can still feel every tweak and different movement on the ice. It's still sore."
Columbus has struggled without its young superstar -- the team's leading scorer in 2003-04 -- posting a 4-10-0 record this season.
Columbus defenceman Bryan Berard is the team's top offensive contributor with three goals and 11 points in 14 games, including last night's contest.
Berard doesn't use Nash's absence as an excuse for the Jackets' disappointing record.
"It's always tough when you lose a key guy like that, especially one of the better players in the league," said Berard before last night's tilt.
"But the guys who have stepped in, they've got to take responsibility, step in and play well."
Nash's return to the sidelines is a tough turn of events for the winger and the Jackets after he made a big impact Tuesday night in Edmonton.
Nash was kept off the scoresheet during a painful 5-1 loss to the Oilers but his open-ice hit on Michael Peca left a lasting impression.
Peca suffered a concussion when Nash's shoulder connected with his head.
The Oiler will be out at least a week as a result.
Nash says drilling an opponent with his head down is a "tough hit to make" but he doesn't regret his decision.
"It's an important part of any player's game," Nash said of his crash-and-bang style. "Especially in the new NHL, there's not much hitting going on. You don't like to see guys go down like that but it's part of the game."
A reality that Nash once again must face.