The Washington Times - May 8, 2013, 08:44PM

NEW YORK | Martin Erat suffered an apparent wrist injury that forced him out of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Wednesday night.

The Washington Capitals left wing appeared to be holding his left wrist as he skated off late in the first period of the Game 4 loss to the New York Rangers. He did not return.

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Coach Adam Oates said Erat had an “upper-body injury” and would be evaluated more Thursday. The Caps flew home late Wednesday night.

Erat was chasing down New York Rangers center Derek Stepan on a breakaway when his left arm appeared to get caught between Stepan and a hard-charging Alex Ovechkin. Erat was airborne and when he fell, the 31-year-old landed on his left wrist or forearm without a glove on.

Erat was in pain in the net for some time before trainer Greg Smith attended to him. He skated down the tunnel holding his left wrist.

The injury happened at the 18:26 mark of the first period. Erat was given a hooking penalty on the play, while Ovechkin was called for charging. The Caps killed off the five-on-three power play.

Eric Fehr moved up to the second line alongside Mike Ribeiro and Troy Brouwer in Erat’s absence. Joel Ward was bumped up to the third line with Jason Chimera and Mathieu Perreault and had his best game since returning from a bruised left knee.

“Guys I’ve played with before,” Ward said. “Obviously, I’m excited to get out there and try to make plays. They’re two players make very creative, good plays off the wall and just tried to make the best out of it.”

The Hershey Bears were eliminated from the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup Playoffs on Wednesday night, which means reinforcements could be on their way sooner rather than later. It’s possible that prospect Tom Wilson, a right wing who has impressed the Caps with his play in junior, is one of the call-ups.

It’s uncertain if left wing Aaron Volpatti would get into the lineup for Game 5 Friday night if Erat cannot play. Wilson, Wojtek Wolski and Joey Crabb appear to be the other options.