Joe Thornton underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his right MCL Thursday afternoon, and there is no timetable for his return to the lineup, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson announced Thursday evening.
Thornton sustained the injury with less than a minute remaining of Tuesday's overtime loss to the Jets. His right knee buckled in a collision with teammate Mikkel Boedker, and Thornton skated off of the ice immediately after and did not return.
The 38-year-old center tore the MCL and ACL in his left knee in April, underwent offseason surgery, but participated fully in the team's training camp and did not miss any regular season games. Thornton dealt with an injury unrelated to offseason knee surgery, but has scored 26 points in his last 28 games.
He is second on the Sharks in points (36), tied for second in goals (13), and third in assists (23). As of press time, Thornton is tied for ninth in the NHL in goals (six) this month.
With the trade deadline a month away, Wilson told reporters on Wednesday that he didn't expect San Jose's plans to change too much in Thornton's absence. He emphasized that the Sharks will rely on the rest of the team to collectively step up to fill the hole left by Thornton's injury.
"I think we're set up. No team likes to lose a player like this for any period of time," Wilson said Wednesday. "And as I say, Joe is so inspirational to all of us that I think it's an opportunity for some people to follow his lead."
Entering Thursday night's game against the New York Rangers, the Sharks held a two-point edge in second place in the Pacific Division, and sat nine points back in the division of the Western Conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights.