The Ottawa Senators could be without the services of centre Jason Spezza for at least two months and possibly longer.
In a press conference Thursday morning at Scotiabank Place, general manager Bryan Murray said that the 29-year-old will have surgery for a herniated disc in Toronto on Friday.
"I can't give you a time frame (on Spezza's return) simply because until the surgery and rehab starts we won't know the total extent," said Murray.
When asked if it will be approximately two months of rehabilitation, Murray said it was "in that time frame."
"We are hoping that he gets back at the later part of the season and if we're in the playoffs (he) will be able to participate at that time."
Spezza suffered a back injury in Sunday's shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins and sat out Tuesday and Wednesday's wins over the Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens.
"Like us, he's devastated," Murray said of Spezza's reaction to the news. "We all know the importance of Jason and what he brings to the table here as well. For him, and a young man coming off a great year, he was hoping to build on that."
Last season, Spezza scored 34 goals and added 50 assists for 84 points in 80 games. He has two goals and three assists in five games this season.
The Mississauga native was drafted by the Senators second overall in the 2001 NHL Draft. The Senators face the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.