Sharks' Stuart nearing a return; Torres still out

Sharks' Stuart nearing a return; Torres still out
March 18, 2014, 12:15 pm

Brad Stuart has three goals, six assists and 29 penalty minutes in 51 games played this season. (USATSI)

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SAN JOSE – Injured Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart is nearing a return.

Stuart skated with his teammates on Tuesday for the first time since being placed on injured reserve shortly after the Olympic break with an upper body injury. He was hurt in the final game before the break on Feb. 7 vs. Columbus.

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“I’ve got to get into an actual practice, I think, to really see where I’m at,” Stuart said. “I’m almost at the point where I’m ready to get back in there. I’m ready, but I’ve got to be physically ready.”

Stuart, who has three goals, six assists and 29 penalty minutes in 51 games, has endured a trying season from an injury standpoint. He wasn’t able to properly train over the summer due to what is believed to be a back injury, and missed all of training camp and the first two regular season games. He was promptly issued a three-game suspension in his season debut on Oct. 8 against the New York Rangers for an illegal hit on Rick Nash.

“Not only did I miss training camp, I missed the whole summer of training, too. I was behind the eight ball right from the start,” he said. “I thought right around Christmas time I was starting to feel pretty good. Going into the [Olympic] break I was feeling as good as I’ve ever felt all season. Having to sit out an extended amount of time has been tough. That’s the way it goes sometimes. Things don’t always go your way.”

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Stuart did not reveal the nature of his current ailment, saying only that it did not require surgery. He’s been skating on his own for several weeks, and is hopeful that the time off could be beneficial come playoff time.

“I’ve been able to build up some strength that I wasn’t able to do in the summer, so maybe this will be a blessing in disguise in some ways,” Stuart said.

Raffi Torres also continues to skate, but he’ll miss his fifth straight game on Tuesday against Florida.

Did Torres perhaps come back too early from right knee surgery in September?

“No, he didn’t come back too early,” Todd McLellan said. “Just working through bumps and bruises, and that type of stuff.”