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Niklas Hjalmarsson leaves Blackhawks game with upper-body injury

Niklas Hjalmarsson played just five shifts Thursday night at the United Center. (AP Photo)

Niklas Hjalmarsson left Thursday’s game in the first period with an upper-body injury and didn’t return.

Hjalmarsson didn’t participate in the morning skate, but Joel Quenneville said that he was “fine” and would play. But he was dealing with some sort of upper-body injury, believed to be his back, and as a result, Quenneville dressed seven defensemen as a “precaution.” Sure enough, Hjalmarsson played just five shifts, and came up lame after stopping short and advancing the puck at center ice on his last shift, which ended with 8:22 left in the first period.

“We thought he was fine, but didn’t turn out so good,” Quenneville said.

Quenneville didn’t have much of an update on Hjalmarsson, and said he’d know more on Friday.

“Not sure the prognosis,” Quenneville said. “We’re hoping that he’s going to be OK, but not sure.”