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Stars' Brenden Morrow to miss 3 games

FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow, who missed Wednesday's game with an upper-body injury, is expected to be out the next three games as well.

Morrow was injured in the first period of the Stars' 4-1 victory over Edmonton. He left the game briefly, but returned to finish the game.

Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said Thursday he expects Morrow to return Dec. 1. The forward, who has three goals and six assists in 20 games, will miss games against Toronto (Friday), Phoenix (Saturday) and Colorado (Monday).

"He's out through the weekend and we're hoping come Thursday [Dec. 1] we'll have a completely healthy Brenden," Gulutzan said. "He's very close, but he's got a couple of upper-body things that need to get looked after and then I think we are going to have a good, healthy captain."

Gulutzan expanded his explanation Friday morning.

"Three times a year Brenden gets an injection for his back," Gulutzan said. "His back has been bothering him a bit. We have to take care of that. It's something that we build into the season."

"We want him to get back to 100 percent and just quit battling at 70 percent," the first-year coach added. "He won't say anything, but sometimes you have to make sure you are doing what's best long term for the athlete, and that's what we are doing right now."

Center Mike Ribeiro, who took a big hit from Kings defenseman Jack Johnson at the end of Thursday's 3-2 overtime win, is doing fine.

"Ribs said he is fine this morning," Gulutzan said. "He said he saw him coming."

Gulutzan said goalie Kari Lehtonen will play against the Maple Leafs and might play Saturday as well.

Mark Stepneski covers the Stars for ESPNDallas.com