Chris Chelios found out Thursday his leg injury is worse than previously thought.
The Red Wings had the day off Thursday but announced the defenseman would miss three to six weeks with a fractured right tibia. He suffered the injury while blocking a shot in a shoot-out exhibition loss to Montreal on Tuesday.
Chelios was on crutches Wednesday and told reporters X-rays were negative and that he was day-to-day with a bone bruise in his knee.
"The CT scan was negative, but the person reading it didn't think something looked right," said general manager Ken Holland.
Holland said the fracture was revealed after more tests Thursday.
Chelios, 46, signed a one-year, $750,000 contract before training camp. He accepted a lesser role to return to the defending Stanley Cup champions for his 25th NHL season.
Holland said Chelios will be placed on long-term injured reserve, so his salary won't count against the team's cap and he won't take up a roster spot.
The Wings entered camp with nine defensemen who can't be sent to the minors without waivers. The Wings were expected to trade one of their young defensemen to get under the $56.7-million salary cap but might wait until Chelios is ready to return.
"The decision we were going to make on the back end can be avoided for now, if we want," Holland said. "We're going to wait through the weekend here and continue to watch."
The Wings end exhibition play with three games in three nights -- hosting the Maple Leafs at 7:30 p.m. tonight, then at Toronto on Saturday and back home against Buffalo at 5 p.m. Sunday.
The Wings could decide to start the season with eight defensemen. If they do, they won't be able to afford a 13th forward.
The Wings have four players fighting for that 13th spot: Ville Leino, Darren Helm, Darren McCarty and Aaron Downey.
McCarty and Downey signed two-way contracts this season. They can each make $575,000 if they're with the Wings or $100,000 if they're in Grand Rapids.
If the Wings traded one of the defensemen before the start of the regular season, they could keep the 13th forward. Then they would have to decide whether to keep one of the young, skilled forwards or one of the veteran tough guys.
NOTEBOOK: Holland said the Wings will trim their roster today. "We want to have some guys get a last look," he said. "We're going to trim to 30ish tomorrow."... Holland said Pavel Datsyuk has a tender groin and might not play this weekend. "He's definitely going to be ready to play opening night," Holland said. "Right now, he'd like to play a game this weekend, or two. I would just as soon be cautious. If he plays, it's because he's 100%."