Avs defenseman Johnson (head) out indefinitely

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In the latest bit of bad news for the struggling Avalanche, defenseman Erik Johnson is out indefinitely with a head injury.

Per the Denver Post, Colorado coach Joe Sacco said today after practice that Johnson will not travel with the team as it leaves on a two-game trip to Minnesota (Thursday) and Edmonton (Saturday).

Johnson left Monday’s game against Phoenix after he reportedly “awkwardly absorbed a check from Martin Hanzal.”

The 24-year-old has one assist in 11 games for the Avalanche so far this season but had consistently been playing more than 20 minutes a game, falling short of that mark only twice (and Monday was once).

The news couldn’t have really come at a worse time. Colorado (4-6-1) has lost three in a row and is still without injured captain Gabriel Landeskog (head) and star forward Ryan O’Reilly, the latter of whom is mired in a contract dispute with the club that could result in a trade.

On the bright side, defenseman Matt Hunwick (torso) and center John Mitchell (flu) are expected to be back against the Wild.