Jets captain Wheeler injured vs. Canucks: ‘It’s going to be a while’

Blake Wheeler went down the tunnel after an apparent injury near the net.

Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice is fearing a long-term absence for captain Blake Wheeler after he suffered a lower-body injury on Friday against the Vancouver Canucks.

“It’s going to be a while,” Maurice said after a 4-3 shootout loss. “We’ll get him looked at tomorrow. I’m not a doctor, but it’s going to be a while.”

Wheeler was hurt in a collision with teammate Nathan Beaulieu and the Canucks’ Vasili Podkolzin in front of the Jets’ net. He immediately grabbed his knee and skated off the ice.

The 35-year-old Wheeler had his first goal of the season and two assists in Friday’s game before exiting.

“He was playing great,” Jets forward Mark Scheifele said. “Obviously, a big goal. A few very, very nice passes. He was playing awesome. It was tough to see him down on the ground like that. We’ve just got to hope and pray for good news.

“We know he’s a warrior. He pretty much (does) everything.”

Wheeler has one goal and 16 assists in 22 games this season.

The veteran winger played his 1,000th career game last Sunday.

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