Thomas Vanek tried to grind through another game Thursday night but it's clear the Buffalo Sabres' leading goal scorer is playing hurt.

Vanek has skipped the team's last two practices due to an undisclosed upper-body injury and stayed in the locker room for the third period of the 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He played just 10 minutes, 50 seconds and was not credited with a shot on goal for the second straight game.

For now at least, coach Lindy Ruff said he thinks Vanek's status will be day to day.

"It's the same thing he's been nursing. He couldn't go," Ruff said. "He's missed two practices. We didn't have a lot of options. He tried to get through it and wasn't able to."

"He gave a valiant effort trying to come out and play hard," said center Derek Roy. "Nobody knows that you're hurt but you're playing hurt. He just didn't have it tonight. He was a little bit too sore."

Vanek, who was not in the locker room after the game, took a hard hit near the knee last Friday when the Leafs were in First Niagara Center but it turns out that wasn't the problem. Vanek said Thursday morning the injury actually took place Saurday in Pittsburgh. How long will he go without practicing?

"I really don't know," Vanek said following the morning skate. "I'm just hoping to use these three days [before Monday's game against Washington] to rest and get ready again for the second half."