Tomas Hertl is in unfortunately familiar territory, recovering from another major knee injury.
“I know so much about it after my career,” the Sharks center told NBC Sports California via FaceTime from the Czech Republic on Friday.
This time it was a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee which required season-ending surgery on Jan. 30. Not a whole lot different from his rookie season in 2013-14, and damage suffered to his MCL and PCL in his right knee that also necessitated surgery.
“My range of motion is already back,” Hertl said. “Swelling is just a little bit. The ACL is a long process, but it will heal.”
All is going well as expected in the recovery process, and there’s zero indication Hertl would miss any start of the next season.
Hertl said he is walking normally and trying to build more muscle around the knee to protect it.
“It was tough when I got hurt,” Hertl said. “But now I know it’s fixed, now I know it’s strong I just have to make the muscles around it.”
Hertl also had surgery on his right knee during the 2016-17 season, and he has played in 453 of 574 possible regular-season games with the Sharks. Always full of cheer and smiles, the 26-year old actually is using doubt as one of his motivations.
“I’m doing it like a challenge,” Hertl explained. “Everyone who’s saying after another injury I will not be the same, I want to change that. I want to show them and all the kids who get hurt, they can come back. And even be better.”
[RELATED: Jamie Baker shares 13 reasons why he misses sports right now]
Hertl returned home to the Czech Republic two weekends ago, meaning he can now see his friends and family after spending the last 14 days in strict government-mandated quarantine due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“It’s just the rules,” Hertl said from his home in Europe. “We have to hold it. I think the Czech Republic are doing a pretty good job. We don’t have very many cases, and already next week they’re getting started re-opening some stores, and get back to normal.”