Forward Jaden Schwartz will miss “at least” four weeks at the start of the Blues’ season because of a left elbow injury, the team announced Friday.

Schwartz was injured in practice on Thursday, and the Blues initially said the injury was not considered serious but something obviously changed with Friday’s announcement.

The injury comes a year after Schwartz missed 49 games last year because of a broken ankle, also suffered during a practice session.

“Our hearts skipped a beat,” said defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk after Thursday’s practice, “but it looks like everything is going to be all right, which is nice.”

The Blues did not announce any specifics about Schwartz’s injury.

The 24-year-old Schwartz had been expected to provide some of the team’s offense lost with the free-agent departures of David Backes and Troy Brouwer. The team also learned this week that Vladimir Sobotka, expected to return to the Blues, will instead play another season in the KHL in Russia.

Schwartz scored eight goals and added 14 assists in 33 regular-season games last year, then played in all 20 postseason games, producing four goals and 10 assists.
Schwartz, a former first-round draft pick, has scored 70 goals in 240 regular-season games in his career.

The Blues, who have a pre-season game Friday night against Dallas, will open the regular-season on Oct. 12 in Chicago.