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January 12, 2012 | 7:35pm ET
New Year, new injuries for the Oilers
By Jimmy Kerr, Edmonton Correspondent

EDMONTON, AB -- The Edmonton Oilers received more bad news this week -- with just four wins since late November, the team learned that another player would be watching from the sidelines for a few weeks.

Jordan Eberle, who leads the team in scoring through 41 games, got tangled up with Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn and fell awkwardly to the ice in last Saturday's 4-1 loss in Texas. After an MRI on Monday, the team revealed that the 21-year-old will miss 2-3 weeks with a sprained knee.

"We've had some tough luck here with injuries but it's part of the game I think," Eberle told 630 CHED on Tuesday. "I just kind of got extended and with the extra push of the guys skate, my knee just buckled in a little bit. I think right away I knew that something was wrong."

Eberle will have plenty of company in the press box, including linemate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who injured his shoulder in Edmonton's first game of the New Year when he caught an edge and fell awkwardly into the boards.

"It's a fast paced game and stuff's going to happen," said Eberle, who has 17 goals and 43 points on the year. "Whether it's a fluke or whether you're battling for a play or something like that, it's part of the game."

The Oilers coaching staff is also dealing with a depleted blue line at the moment.

Tom Gilbert is out until the end of the month, Ryan Whitney is week-to-week and Cam Barker has been hurt since November, all with ankle ailments, while Alex Plante is nursing a concussion.

On the upside, most or all of these injured players could be back by the end of January, which may put the Oilers in a good position to salvage what's left of what has turned out to be a somewhat disappointing season.

Edmonton is 8-20-1 since picking up points in 10 of the first 12 games of the 2011-12 campaign, and the team currently sits 14 points out of the playoffs and eight points out of last overall.

That said, there is still half a season to be played, and the team has shown glimpses of being a club that should be competing for a spot in the postseason. All too often in the past few weeks though, the story has been that the Oilers didn't quite play a full 60 minutes and ended up on the losing end of things.

In fact, nine of the team's last 12 losses have come by one or two goals, which tells you that they are at least close.

"It's almost like you'd rather lose a game that you really felt like you deserved to lose and you know what you're doing wrong," said forward Taylor Hall after a recent loss to the St. Louis Blues. "We're doing a lot of really good things and we're not getting points.

Hall will have to step up his play in the absence of the team's other two young stars as the Oil try to turn things around.

The team's dwindling playoff hopes may depend on it.

Jimmy Kerr is the Edmonton Correspondent for

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