LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Traverse City — A key injury has struck the Red Wings already.

Forward Anthony Mantha, who was expected to compete for a top-six forward job this exhibition season, has a fractured right tibia and will miss six to eight weeks, general manager Ken Holland said Thursday.

Mantha, the 2013 first-round draft pick who scored 81 goals in 81 junior-league games last season, got his leg stuck in a rut during a prospects tournament game Saturday in Traverse City.

He sat out Monday's game but the severity of the injury didn't come to light until the last couple of days.

It was officially diagnosed Thursday during team physicals.

Holland said no surgery will be necessary.

"It's like what we've gone through in the past, it is what it is, and there is opportunity for other people," Holland said.

Mantha's injury could open a spot for Tomas Jurco, who was in an uneasy position because he has minor league options available to be sent down, and the Red Wings had an abundance of forwards.

For Mantha, the news was a major disappointment.

"Obviously it is, with the all training I put in this summer, it's pretty hard," Mantha said. "I'll work hard and if I come back to my capabilities, they'll give me another chance and I'll work off that."

Mantha said the injury occurred in the first period of the prospects game and he continued to play through the injury. The next day, the leg was sore and he went for an MRI.

"I didn't think it was that serious," Mantha said, of playing through the injury. "Maybe I would have stopped playing and taking any more chances. But you can't know right away (about things like that).

"The puck was in the corner and I went to my right at center ice. I hit a crack in the ice and my foot went with it to the left. Me and another guy bumped, and my knee went sideways. It all happened so fast.

"I continued to play, but the next day it was pretty sore."

ted.kulfan@detroitenws.com

twitter.com/tkulfan

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE