SAN JOSE – Once again, Sharks forward Raffi Torres doesn’t want to put a timeframe on a potential return date to the lineup.
Torres is likely to miss his sixth straight game on Thursday, when the Sharks host Anaheim in a showdown for first place in the Pacific Division. The forward played in five of the team’s first six games after the Olympic break, returning from ACL surgery in September, but has not played since March 8 vs. Montreal.
The 32-year-old indicated he could probably make it through the game if he had to, but he wouldn’t be able to bring the traits make him effective.
“I could probably go out and play right now, but I wouldn’t be able to go out and play my style of game right now,” Torres said. “I’ll just take some rest. The guys have been playing great. They’ve been doing a hell of a job all year. It gives me something to look forward to, to coming back and helping these guys.”
He denied there was any sort of setback in his recovery from a second major right knee operation in the last six years.
“I wouldn’t say there’s a setback, it just is what it is. It’s six months out of ACL surgery. If I could go out there and play and not throw the body around or get pushed around or do those battles down low and stuff like that, maybe I could get away with it. But, my game is a grinder, sandpaper-type game. For me to play that way, I think I need to be smart and take a little bit of a rest here.”
On Tuesday, head coach Todd McLellan shot down a suggestion that Torres, who made his season debut on Feb. 27, returned to the lineup too soon. Torres did the same on Wednesday.
“That wasn’t the case. We felt great. There was nothing holding me back at that point from playing.”
* * *
Sharks forward Tomas Hertl continues to skate with his teammates. Although he’s picked up the pace a bit from his first appearance on Feb. 26 in Philadelphia, he is by no means close to full speed.
McLellan offered a not-too-encouraging update on the rookie, who had knee surgery on Dec. 31 after getting hurt in Los Angeles on Dec. 19.
“He is moving a little bit quicker, which is a real positive thing for him. His rehab has gone very well and it’s gone quite quickly. But, I think anybody who watches him skate, we’re at no point picking a day yet or anticipating him returning.
“He’s working hard. We’d love to have him back at some point if we get to play for a long time. But, over the near future, he’s not available.”