Brett Howden
(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Brett Howden left the New York Rangers 1-0 loss to Philadelphia Tuesday and now we know how long his timetable will be. 

Dom Renna

The New York Rangers announced late Thursday afternoon that center Brett Howden will miss the next three-to-four weeks with an MCL sprain.

Howden suffered the injury early in the first period in New York’s 1-0 loss to Philadelphia Tuesday. Right away it didn’t look good as he was slow to get to the bench and took one more shift before heading to the locker room.

After starting out strong, Howden cooled off a bit having not scored a goal since Nov. 12 against Vancouver. He had a few chances Tuesday but was unable to find the back of the net.

The timing of the injury is not great for Howden, who returned from the bye week a completely different player. Playing the wing for the first time in his career, he managed to get three shots on goal in just six shifts Tuesday. That came after not recording a shot on goal since Jan. 12 against the Islanders.

Even with the injury, New York is not expected to make a corresponding move considering the return of Mats Zuccarello and Pavel Buchnevich Thursday. Even with a healthy Howden, the expectation was that he would sit and watch a few games after his struggles hit a climax prior to the break.

The hope is for Howden to come back shortly around the trade deadline and be able to be the player he was when the beginning of the season. If he can get back to that, the Rangers would be welcoming back an important asset.

New York returns to action Thursday night when they take on the Devils for the first time this season in New Jersey.

Follow Dom on TWITTER

Dominick is a graduate of Canisius College. He has covered the Rangers for the last seven seasons and the Yankees for the last four.