Oilers defence takes another hit as Ceci enters COVID-19 protocol

Winnipeg Jets' Dominic Toninato is checked by Edmonton Oilers' Cody Ceci during first period action in Edmonton on Nov. 18, 2021. (CP)

The shorthanded Edmonton Oilers defence corps took another hit when Cody Ceci was placed in COVID-19 protocol on Tuesday.

The team cancelled practice on Tuesday for precautionary reasons.

The Oilers announced the move on Twitter on Tuesday.

The Oilers defencemen, especially the left side, have been hard hit by injury. The team also on Tuesday officially placed Duncan Keith on injured reserve after suffering an upper-body injury Nov. 23 against the Dallas Stars. He hasn't played since.

This is in addition to the sidelining of stalwart D-man Darnell Nurse, who has been sidelined since suffering a broken finger Nov. 18 against the Winnipeg Jets. Nurse, who had played 326 consecutive games, was expected to miss two to three weeks.

To bolster the back end, Markus Niemelainen was recalled on Tuesday from Bakersfield of the AHL.

The Oilers are third in the Western Conference with a 15-5 record. Their next game is Wednesday in Edmonton against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins, which can be seen on Sportsnet, starting at 10 p.m. ET.

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