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SAN JOSE – There was a positive development on Wednesday in regards to injured Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl's long rehab from a serious knee injury.
Hertl appeared on the practice ice for the first time without a brightly colored orange sweater, reserved for those players that are to avoid physical contact. Rather, the 20-year-old was in a white sweater, worn by team’s top six forwards, and the color Hertl would be wearing if he was heathy.
Is there anything that can be read into that?
“You can read into progress, certainly. You can see it,” Todd McLellan said. “If you’ve been around our team for awhile and have watched him skate, he’s progressed along very nicely. It’s just another step. Is he ready to play? No. I think that’s real evident, as well. Every two weeks he seems to make another step and this is just a small one, and many left.”
“Like everybody else in the organization and in the city, we all want him back. But, he has to come back at the right time, when he is physically ready, mentally ready, in condition, prepared to play at a high level, and that’s a little ways away.”
Hertl is not expected to return at any point in the regular season and his availability for the first round of the playoffs is doubtful, but he could play again if the Sharks advance. He had surgery on Dec. 31 to repair ligaments in his right knee after a knee-on-knee collision with the Kings’ Dustin Brown on Dec. 19, and has been skating with the team since Feb. 26.