The team said that Johnson will be sidelined for six to eight weeks.
"Injuries are no excuse, but it helps to have some of those guys in the lineup," coach Jared Bednar said. "You're missing a pair on D. I still can't help but feel we have more to give. ... You still have to stick with it and work through it. That's the only way you get out of it is to work out of it."
The 28-year-old Johnson has one goal and is tied for the team lead with 10 assists this season. The Avalanche are a disappointing 9-13-1 for a league-worst 19 points.
Some help could be on the way. Avalanche left winger Gabriel Landeskog (lower body) skated Saturday morning and should be on the upcoming four-game road trip. He has been out since Nov. 14.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.