Ilya Bryzgalov could be back by Thursday, or he could be out till Christmas.

The Edmonton Oilers are hoping and expecting their injured netminder will only be out a few days, but admit there’s no such thing as a time line when you’re dealing with concussion symptoms.

The area is so grey they’re not even sure he actually has one - it could be whiplash - but they’re taking the precautionary route.

“It might be two days, it might be two years, take your pick,” said head coach Dallas Eakins, who watched Bryzgalov go down in the second period in Dallas. “He took a wicked blow when (Ryan) Garbutt was driving the net. It’s something that unfortunately happens when guys are trying to score goals.

“He’s got the symptoms that go together with a concussion, or whiplash or whatever way you want to put it. We always treat those immediately as a concussion, even though we’re not quite sure if that’s what it is or not.”

Edmonton called Jason LaBarbera up from the minors to fill in while Bryzgalov, who was at the rink Tuesday morning but didn’t speak with reporters, waits until the symptoms go away.

Edmonton will also be without centre Boyd Gordon for tonight’s game with the Phoenix Coyotes, leaving the club seriously shorthanded in the faceoff circle.

Phoenix is one of the NHL’s stronger faceoff teams (10th in the NHL), while the Oilers, with Boyd Gordon’s 58% success rate, are 21st. Take him out of the equation and they’re in deep trouble.

“They (the Coyotes) are strong down the middle, it’s a massive challenge for our centremen,” said Eakins, who needs Sam Gagner, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Mark Arcobello and Will Acton to pick up a lot of slack. “We’ve got some centremen who haven’t been great on draws. If you’re going to play centre in this league you have to win faceoffs.

“It’s imperative that you have the puck. If you don’t have the puck off the draw you’re chasing it for 15 or 20 seconds. It’s going to be a huge challenge for our centremen and the second part is everyone has to help on those draws, everyone has to be in there.”