Hertl ‘making Progress,' But Return Date to Sharks Still Uncertain

SAN JOSE – Tomas Hertl is continuing to rehab from right knee surgery on Nov. 18, but there is still no timetable for him to return to practice.

According to a source, though, Hertl has been working out, riding a stationary bike and is "making progress" after what was deemed a minor procedure by the organization following an injury in the Sharks-Blues game on Nov. 17 in St. Louis, when he collided with Jori Lehtera.

The club never revealed any timeframe for Hertl to return to action, but on Nov. 22 general manager Doug Wilson said that he anticipated the center/forward would be out for "weeks" rather than months.

Considering Hertl's return date to get back on the ice is still hazy, though, it's clear that he won't be playing at any point in the immediate future. The NHL All-Star break is Jan. 27-29, so perhaps some time after that could make the most sense.

The Sharks have handled Hertl's absence well, going 11-4-1.

"We're aware of when you lose a big piece that guys need to step up, whether that's guys playing in the middle more, or upping their point production," Tommy Wingels said on Wednesday.

"Tomas was playing the power play, penalty kill, lots of roles for this team. I think it's been a good job from a lot of guys to chip in a little bit here and there. We've had success, so got to continue doing that."

Wingels is one of Hertl's better friends on the team, and said he talks to the affable 23-year-old Czech native "all the time."

"[His] spirits are good. He's hoping to get back as soon as he can. He's working hard and doing everything he can."

The nature of the surgery, according to Wilson in November, was to prevent the kinds of minor collisions – like the one with Lehtera – from forcing Hertl from the lineup. He's had problems with the knee ever since tearing the MCL and PCL ligaments in his rookie season of 2013-14, and was hurt again in Game 2 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

"The small procedure that we're looking to do is almost like an internal bracing," Wilson said the day before the surgery. "It wasn't really a major hit. This will prevent that from happening in the future."

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