SAN JOSE – The Sharks were dealt an unfortunate hand Thursday with news rookie defenseman Radim Simek will require surgery on his right knee following a mid-game injury he sustained on Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets.
If anyone knows how tough it is to sustain an injury like that, it's Simek's fellow countryman Tomas Hertl.
"It's tough to see," Hertl told the media Thursday morning, recalling being on the ice with Simek during Tuesday's game when he had to be helped off. "He was in (a lot of) pain."
As Sharks fans will recall – and likely would rather forget – Hertl also sustained a knee injury during his rookie season after a knee-on-knee collision with LA Kings' forward Dustin Brown. As someone who has been there before, Hertl has been by Simek's side to help give him advice.
Hertl said he's encouraged Simek to "stay positive" and that even though the "first couple of weeks it isn't easy" that he'll be able to bounce back.
Simek's presence will no doubt be missed on San Jose's blue line. The 26-year-old has posted 9 points (1 goal, 8 assists) since stepping into the Sharks starting lineup in his rookie campaign – not to mention creating almost instant chemistry with Brent Burns. On a positive note for the Sharks, Joakim Ryan already has experience skating alongside the Norris Trophy-hopeful this season.
"Joakim did a really good job before and I believe he will take his spot and he will be great for us," Hertl said.
No timetable has been set regarding whether Simek will be able to return to the lineup at some point before the season is over, according to a statement from the team. At least, for the time being, he has a teammate like Hertl to help him make a comeback.
"I will help him get through it because I was there too," Hertl said. "He'll come back and be stronger, but for sure it's bad luck. Tough loss for us because he was playing really good hockey."