Kyle Turris was willing to play through pain and injury, but he finally came to the realization that he just wasn't able to help his team anymore.
The Ottawa Senators announced Monday morning that its No. 1 centre is out indefinitely with a high ankle sprain.
"It's been frustrating," said Turris. "I've just been trying to help out in any way I can and we just kind of came to the determination that it's hard to get around the ice now and made the decision to get better."
Turris was initially injured Dec. 5 in a game against the New York Islanders when he got tangled with Casey Cizikas. He played the next night, but as time went by it was clear he was struggling.
He went on to play another few weeks, but said he continued to aggravate the injury and after playing San Jose Jan. 18 it was clear he needed time off. Turris missed nearly three weeks before making the decision to return, but he was far from the player he had been at the start of the season.
Since the initial injury Turris had just two goals and six assists and went 26 games without scoring a goal and 15 without a point. Through 57 games Turris had 13 goals and 30 points.
'It just sort of progressively got worse and more fatigued and tougher to get around the ice.' - Senators centre Kyle Turris on his high ankle sprain
"I was just trying to help the team any way I could and obviously in terms of production I wasn't doing that very well," said Turris. "I was just trying to do anything I could.
"It was just trying to tolerate what was there and getting through it. It just sort of progressively got worse and more fatigued and tougher to get around the ice to the point we're at now."
The decision was made all the more difficult with the Senators fighting to get into the playoffs. Ottawa sits four points back of Pittsburgh for the final wild card in the Eastern Conference.
"I just wanted to stay in and try and help out the past little bit. We've got a great group, we've got a playoff team here. They'll do it."
If practice line combinations are any indication it appears the Senators will go with Mika Zibanejad, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Curtis Lazar and Nick Paul at centre.
Nick Paul recalled
Paul, who was recalled from the American Hockey League's Binghamton Senators, has played the last six straight games mostly at wing, but is a natural centre.
"An injury is going to open up minutes for somebody," said Senators coach Dave Cameron. "We've always said from the get-go that any time there's an injury there's an opportunity for somebody.
"We haven't got anybody pegged that has to put on their Superman cloak and do something that's outside of what they're capable of. It's just everybody maybe a little more focused, a little more excited because they know they're going to get some ice time that normally Kyle would take."
The Senators also have the option of moving Zack Smith back to centre, but he has been playing extremely well on Pageau's left side of late. Smith has four goals in his last five games and says ideally he would stay on the wing at this point.
"I like where it's at right now," said Smith. "I feel me and Pageau have been playing good together. I'm comfortable playing on the wing right now, but again centre is where I feel most comfortable at where I'm able to skate the most and use my skating which is my strong point."
The Senators could bolster its lineup as early as Thursday as Clarke MacArthur is hopeful to return. MacArthur, who has been sidelined with a concussion since October, is set to undergo his final baseline test Tuesday.
The Senators have won five of its last six and will need to keep winning to have any hope of making the playoffs.