SAN JOSE – Sharks center Tomas Hertl is back on the ice, but his return to game action is anything but imminent.
According to a source, Hertl will likely be out until mid-to-late February, as he recovers and rehabs from his latest right knee surgery. Hertl has been skating lightly under the watch of the team’s medical staff since Dec. 27, but there is no timeframe for him to return to practice.
The 23-year-old underwent what the team called a “minor procedure” on Nov. 22, and general manager Doug Wilson later explained the surgery was done to try and prevent future problems. Hertl was injured on Nov. 17 on what looked to be a minor collision with the Blues’ Jori Lehtera.
“We just [want to] prevent something for next time, [so we did a] small surgery,” Hertl said on Dec. 27. “It’s no guarantee, but it hopefully helps.”
When asked if he could return before or after the All-Star break at the end of the month, Hertl said: “We’re not really talking [about that]. I don’t even know. … Everything has to be good, and I [have to] feel ready to go. We don’t say after or before [the All-Star break] or how long it will take.”
Hertl, who has nine points (4g, 5a) in 17 games this season, has had problems with the knee throughout his four-year NHL career.
In his rookie year, Hertl was run by the Kings’ Dustin Brown on Dec. 19, 2013, tearing the PCL and MCL ligaments in the knee. In Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final last June, it was a hit by the Penguins’ Patric Hornqvist that ended his series prematurely.