The Ducks made the move Saturday before their road game at Tampa Bay.
The recall marks a return for O'Brien, who was drafted by the Ducks in 2003.
The hard-hitting blueliner cracked Anaheim's lineup in October 2006, but was traded to Tampa Bay at the trade deadline of his rookie season. A few months later, the Ducks won their only Stanley Cup title.
O'Brien played 96 games for the Lightning before moving on to Vancouver, Nashville, Colorado, Calgary and Florida, where he played nine games last season.
The Ducks re-signed O'Brien in the offseason. He has two assists and 35 penalty minutes in 14 games with San Diego this season.