Top prospect Nolan Yonkman fractured his orbital bone in a fight Sunday and will miss at least six weeks.
Yonkman, a burly defenseman who has been limited to just 23 games with minor league Portland this season, missed most of the first half of the season with an abdominal problem and then broke his arm in his second game back from that injury.
Yonkman, who has been in the lineup for about three weeks, visited an eye specialist today and doctors will decide Thursday whether he needs season-ending surgery. Surgery would correct any lingering sight problems, and even if the specialist opts for rest rather than a procedure, Yonkman would be out until the start of the playoffs.
The Capitals had hoped to get a look at Yonkman, 21, this season -- he played 11 games for Washington last season -- but that will be all but impossible now.
"Nolan was just beginning to get his game legs under him a little bit," Portland Coach Tim Army said. "It's really unfortunate for him and for us. His rhythm was better, his passing was better and the timing of his game was better."
Miller Is on the Mend
Winger Kip Miller missed tonight's game with the Buffalo Sabres because of a recurrence of a hand injury. Coach Bruce Cassidy said the injury is not serious and Miller could return later this week.
Ivan Ciernik took Miller's spot on the top line. Defensemen Jean-Francois Fortin (back spasms) remains out while defenseman Rick Berry and forward Alex Henry were healthy scratches. Winger Josh Green played for the first time since Feb. 14. . . .
The Sabres are bankrupt, looking to dump payroll and out of the playoff picture, and the trading deadline is a week away, so 16 scouts representing 13 teams attended tonight's game. Vancouver, Anaheim and the New York Rangers each had two scouts/executives present.