Lightning coach Jon Cooper hinted Tuesday morning that left wing Ryan Malone might be out a while, but gave no specifics. It was up to general manager Steve Yzerman to deliver the bad news:

Malone, who was hit with a puck Nov. 22 at Anaheim, has a non displaced ankle fracture and is expected out three to four weeks.

There just seems to be no respite from injury news for Tampa Bay, which has six players out with injuries: Malone, defensemen Brian Lee (knee) and Radko Gudas (upper body), and forwards Malone, Steven Stamkos (broken right leg), Tom Pyatt (collarbone) and Pierre-Cedric Labrie (left arm/elbow).

Labrie participated in Tuesday's morning skate, though with a red no-contact jersey. Labrie will miss his third straight game tonight against the Blue Jackets with a left arm/elbow issue. He is on the mend, though, as Cooper said Labrie shot the puck well, and Labrie said his best-case scenario has him ready to go by Saturday's game with the Jets. There also is a chance Gudas could be ready by the weekend.

Pyatt who already has missed 23 games with a broken collarbone and might be out another two to four weeks after a CT scan showed the bone not healing as quickly as hoped. It is frustrating for Pyatt who has been practicing with the team and says he feels fine.

Yzerman said there is no cause for concern with Pyatt as the eight-week threshold for healing, which just passed, is on the "early side."

"I don't think it's uncommon for this type of injury to be eight to 12 weeks, potentially," Yzerman said. "We were all hoping at the eight week mark he'd be good to go but he needs a little more time. Obviously, we're hoping it's not 12 weeks. So, it's taking a little longer but not a reason from our perspective for concern.

Add Stamkos' injury and Tampa Bay has jerry-rigged its forward lineup to such an extent that it's second line is made up of center Alex Killorn (64 NHL games), and rookie wings J.T. Brown (14 games) and Nikita Kucherov (three games).

In all, the Lightning is playing seven rookies: Brown, Kucherov, the Kid Line of center Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Richard Panik, and defensemen Mark Barberio and Andrej Sustr. Include Gudas, out with an upper-body injury, and it is eight.

"What's happened so far is because of our injuries ice time has been accelerated for a lot of our young guys," coach Jon Cooper said. "Probably not an ideal situation but we're eventually going to be a better team for it, especially come spring time. It's a little bit of a trial by fire, but so far all the guys have passed the test. It's been a lot of fun to be with this group so far."