BUFFALO, N.Y. — Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour's status for the season opener in two weeks is now up in the air as he is out for the rest of the preseason with a hand injury.

"I wouldn't expect him right off the hop but pretty soon there after," head coach Ralph Krueger said. 

It's unclear when he got hurt but he missed the last 12 minutes of Tuesday's preseason game in Columbus. 

"He can keep his lower body moving which is important. He's worked so hard off the knee injury to get up to speed so if there's a positive in this it's that, that he can keep his legs," Krueger explained. 

Krueger also would not say if Montour broke his hand or not. The team said they will provide an update on his status after training camp ends.

Montour was expected to be their top right-handed defenseman this season paired with Rasmus Dahlin for their top pair. Rasmus Ristolainen skated alongside Dahlin at practice on Thursday.

"He's a very big deal, he's doing a lot for our team so of course it's not fun when it happens," Rasmus Dahlin said.

The Sabres acquired Montour in a trade with Anaheim in February. 

"It's tough. Obviously he's a really good player, he's a big piece back there for us," forward Jeff Skinner said. "This time of year it's an opportunity for some guys to step up and try to fill that spot."

With Montour out, the Sabres are now down four defensemen with Zach Bogosian and Lawrence Pilut plus Matt Hunwick who was ruled out for the entire season with a neck injury. Bogosian had hip surgery while Pilut had shoulder surgery.

Up next, the Sabres take on the Maple Leafs in Toronto for another preseason game and open the regular season on October 3 in Pittsburgh.

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