NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein will be out indefinitely after fracturing his right thumb, the team announced Wednesday.

Klein hurt the thumb in the final minutes of Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the Devils when he was checked by Reid Boucher and then fell awkwardly into the boards.

He had injured the same thumb last month, but only missed one game. This will be the second extended stretch the Blueshirts will have to play without Klein’s services. He was also sidelined for nearly three weeks in December with a strained oblique.

Klein has played in 38 games this season and leads the Rangers (27-18-5) with a plus-14 rating, ninth best in the NHL among defensemen. He also has recorded three goals and seven assists this season.

“I can’t say enough good things about Kleiner and what he means to our team and how steady and solid he’s been,” team captain Ryan McDonagh told BlueshirtsUnited.com on Wednesday. “Injuries are a part of this game, and we’ve got the guys to step up and play his minutes. We just have to make sure that everyone steps up and plays as well as they can.”

Rookie Dylan McIlrath will take Klein’s spot in the lineup.