The Thunder expects to find out more about Jason Duda's status today when the veteran forward sees a back specialist.
Duda is on 14-day injured reserve after he aggravated a back injury during a game at Tulsa on Oct. 24.
"I just got hit and fell awkward," he said. "I landed hard, and it kind of flared up. I'm just waiting to see what the doctor has to say."
Without Duda, the franchise leader in points, the Thunder dropped two games to previously winless Missouri over the weekend.
In five games, Duda has five points.
Duda suffered through a sore back much of last season when he played 58 games and led the team with 55 points.
"It seems like one of those things that, when it calms down, it's fine," coach Brent Bilodeau said. "But with the travel and rigors of playing professional hockey, it flares up.
"I don't want to make any guesses or decisions until we find out what can be done, or if anything can be done."
* The Thunder offense, last in the Central Hockey League, would benefit from improved play from Damian Surma. Bilodeau expected Surma, a veteran, to put up points, but he has two assists in seven games. "He realizes he's struggling, and he's trying different things to get out of it," Bilodeau said. "He's fought a couple times; he's been working hard. He's a tremendously skilled player, but I think he has to simplify his game. I think he also might be realizing that this league is maybe better than he thought."
* The Thunder also expected much more from Joel Hanson, who hasn't scored a point in seven games. "He was a point-a-game guy for us down the stretch last year, but he's also struggling this season," Bilodeau said.
* The Thunder faces a challenge on Friday, playing at Colorado. The Eagles are 3-0-1 in four home games. Last season, Colorado was 23-7-2 at home.
The Thunder has killed off 28 straight penalties, moving to second in the CHL at 94.9.
The power play, though, is in a terrible slump. Wichita has failed in its last 19 attempts.
TAP OF THE STICK
Rookie goaltender Scott Campbell is seventh in the league with a 2.76 goals-against average. As of Tuesday, Bilodeau hadn't decided whether Campbell or Tim Boron would start on Friday.
THE BIG NUMBER
Number of third period goals the Thunder has scored in seven games. Opponents have 13.
HE SAID IT
"Everyone in their own mind wants to win, but there are different degrees of how bad you want it."
—Bilodeau, wondering aloud if some of his players are competing hard enough