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Bruins forward David Pastrnak out at least two weeks after thumb surgery

David Pastrnak leads the Bruins with 66 points.
David Pastrnak leads the Bruins with 66 points.(John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)

Already shorthanded in the goal-scoring department, the Bruins offense was dealt a significant and surprising setback Tuesday when top scorer David Pastrnak underwent thumb surgery that will knock him out of the lineup for at least two weeks.

According to general manager Don Sweeney, Pastrnak slipped and fell Sunday night while leaving a club-related sponsorship event with some of his teammates, the fall damaging a tendon in the 22-year-old winger’s left thumb.

“After the game on Sunday, David and several of his teammates attended a sponsorship dinner,” said Sweeney. “At about 11:30, David reported to me . . . while he and teammates were walking to meet their transportation location, he simply fell and injured his thumb.”

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Sweeney offered no further details about the location of the dinner or the fall.

“I found out yesterday morning, and it’s [a] disappointment,” said coach Bruce Cassidy, suddenly without his 31-goal scorer. “He’s one of our better players — and I am sure David feels terrible about it, at least that’s what I’ve been told by Donny.”

Pastrnak was unavailable for comment and the club, veering from standard practice, did not issue a press release that typically would spell out a timeline for recovery and provide some detail about the operation or specific nature of the injury.

“Just got the call from Dr. [Matt] Leibman,” explained Sweeney, when asked for more detail. “He felt very comfortable about how the repair went. It was a tendon repair. I’ll have the specifics later. He feels comfortable in saying that in two weeks he’ll have a much better timeline as to what it’s going to take.”

From a rehab standpoint, Sweeney said, “It’s really nothing,” and that Pastrnak should be back on skates within 10 days — just before the league’s Feb. 25 trade deadline.

“So conditioning won’t be an issue,” said the GM. “It’s just a matter of stitches, and infection-wise, to make sure he doesn’t have any issues in that regard.”

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The Bruins are expected to announce a callup or two from their Providence AHL affiliate Wednesday. Cassidy moved Jake DeBrusk into Pastrnak’s right wing spot on the Peter Cehlarik-David Krejci line Tuesday night vs. the Blackhawks.

“After the disappointment moves along, it’s challenge,” said Cassidy. “I mean, we are taking our leading scorer out of the lineup and we’ve been struggling to create enough offense as it is.

“Now you’re going to the drawing board and asking, ‘OK, what’s the best way to go about this in terms of replacing his production?’ ”

Pastrnak, among the game’s best rising young marksmen, is a righthanded shot. As such, he grips the top of the stick with his left hand, the control hand, while the right (power) hand is placed lower on the shaft. Both hands are essential in stickhandling and shooting, but it would seem he was fortunate not to injure his power hand — particularly for a player whose trademark is his blistering slapper.

“It was really pretty apparent that he needed to have something done right away,” said Sweeney. “Which they did.”

Danton Heinen, who recently moved into Pastrnak’s spot on the No. 1 line, was back there Tuesday, lining up with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.

Cassidy was uncertain about which player to call up from Providence. One likely candidate would be Ryan Donato, who posted a meager 6-3—9 line across 34 games with the varsity earlier this season.

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“We’ll see what our best fit is going forward,” he said. “We’ll have to carry an extra forward anyway. So do we switch anybody out? That’ll be the conversation. And I don’t know who it will be.

“If we go the offensive route, it’s a guy who’s scoring down there. Or maybe a solid defensive player, if we decided go that route. Could be anybody down there. Usually it’s the most deserving guy, but in this case we could be a little more lineup-specific.”

David Backes, a healthy scratch Sunday against Colorado, returned to the lineup against the Blackhawks, riding on a line with Joakim Nordstrom and Trent Fredric.

Pastrnak, with 31 goals and 66 points, has been on course to shatter the career-high line of 35-45—80 he posted last season. As he headed to surgery Tuesday morning, he was tied for ninth in the NHL with those 66 points.

“He’s extremely upset, disappointed,” said Sweeney. “Obviously, he feels that he let everybody down, despite it being an accident. He was apologetic. And it was heartfelt in trying to explain that accidents happen. And I said the same thing to him, that they do.”


Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at kevin.dupont@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeKPD.