Just as the Ducks appeared to be returning to good health, the team is forced to say goodbye to another key player.

Cam Fowler, who awkwardly tweaked his right knee in last Friday's victory over the Montreal Canadiens, will be sidelined for four to eight weeks, the Ducks announced Friday.

The top-pairing defenseman's absence from the lineup has been softened by the return of Hampus Lindholm, who made his season debut Tuesday after undergoing offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum. Sami Vatanen, who had the same procedure, also is near his return to the ice.

But there's no replacing Fowler, the anchor of the back end and a young locker room leader.

The Ducks' confidence in Fowler was evident when they signed the 25-year-old to an eight-year, $52-million contract during the summer.