James van Riemsdyk has become the Maple Leafs’ latest centre by default.

With Dave Bolland and Tyler Bozak nursing injuries, coach Randy Carlyle had van Riemsdyk centring the top line between Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel at practice at the Air Canada Centre on Monday.

“He has played there before, so it does not take rocket science to go in that direction,” Carlyle said of putting van Riemsdyk in the middle. “We think he is more of the fit right now.”

Van Riemsdyk played centre for two years at the University of New Hampshire, but has done so sparingly in the NHL with the Leafs and the Philadelphia Flyers.

“It’s different,” van Riemsdyk said. “When you are used to playing a certain position, you naturally know where to go and (now) maybe you have to think about it a little bit more. I think it’s a lot about timing — being in the right spot at the right time and not losing your speed and all of that stuff. I’ll get that through repetition and experience.”

Also at practice, Nazem Kadri was between Mason Raymond and David Clarkson; Jay McClement between Nikolai Kulemin and Troy Bodie; and Trevor Smith between Frazer McLaren and Colton Orr.

The Leafs announced on Monday that Bolland has had successful surgery to repair a tendon on the outside of his left ankle.

Bolland, who will be out of the lineup indefinitely, returned to Toronto from Vancouver on Monday afternoon.

Bolland was hurt during the Leafs’ 4-0 loss against the Canucks on Saturday night when he was checked into the boards by Canucks forward Zack Kassian.

Bozak, meanwhile, is nursing a hamstring injury and was placed on long-term injured reserve on Saturday. Bozak, who was hurt on Oct. 25 in a game in Columbus against the Blue Jackets, is eligible to return to the Leafs lineup on Nov. 21.

The Leafs (10-5-0) don’t play again until Friday, when the struggling New Jersey Devils visit, so van Riemsdyk should get plenty of time to sharpen his skills. It will be the Leafs’ first regular-season home game on a Friday night since Dec. 23, 2005, when they beat the visiting Boston Bruins 2-1.