San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton is expected to miss “several weeks” due to a right knee injury, the team announced Wednesday.
“It looks like it’s MCL related,” general manager Doug Wilson said. “It looks like he’s going to be out for several weeks, anyhow. Our policy is if it’s more than two weeks, we let you know.”
Thornton was injured on Tuesday after teammate Mikkel Boedker fell on him with a minute to go in the third period of his club’s 5-4 loss to the Winnipeg Jets.
The 38-year-old was set to have an MRI on Wednesday, said Wilson.
Thornton had surgery on his left knee during the off-season and hasn’t missed a game this season thus far, so this one stings.
“It’s tough,” Sharks forward Logan Couture said. “Especially a guy that’s worked so hard to come back from a serious injury. It’s just an innocent play where guys got tangled up. You knew something was wrong when you saw his face on the ice. That guy doesn’t leave a hockey game unless something’s very hurt. You feel for him. He’s a guy that loves to play hockey.”
Thornton signed a one-year deal worth $8 million in July and is in his 20th NHL season. He’s 16th on the all-time scoring list, with 1,427 career points with the Boston Bruins and Sharks. He’s also 12th on the all-time assists list, just three helpers behind Mario Lemieux.
This season, Thornton has 36 points in 47 games. He has 18 points on the power play, including seven power play goals.
Thornton has been the top line centre for the Sharks and has skated alongside Joe Pavelski, so this injury will mean some shuffling is in order. Logan Couture could see time on the top unit, with Tomas Hertl potentially centring the second line.
It’ll also mean an adjustment for the first power play unit, which saw Thornton skating with Pavelski, Couture, Hertl, and defenceman Brent Burns.