SAN JOSE –- Logan Couture skated for a portion of Sharks practice on Sunday, but neither he nor coach Pete DeBoer offered a timeframe for his return.
The Sharks resume their season at home on Monday against Colorado after five days off for Christmas.
Couture underwent a procedure on Dec. 10 after a small arterial bleed was discovered in his right thigh area, and has missed 29 of the team’s first 34 games, previously dealing with a fractured right fibula at the ankle.
The 26-year-old said he has skated for the “last couple of days,” and on Sunday worked alone with development coach Mike Ricci before joining the team for the first 20 minutes of practice.
Speaking for the first time since he was hurt in a game in Calgary on Dec. 8, Couture went into more detail about what exactly happened.
“In the first period I must have gotten hit at some point. It just felt like a Charley horse. Went in the intermission and threw some heat rub on it like a normal Charley horse. It got worse, and throughout the second period it felt like my leg was getting fuller and fuller and stiffer and stiffer. It got to the point where I could barely move on the ice.
“The last thing I want to do coming back from an injury is to go out with another one. But, it got to the point where I couldn’t skate, so I told Pete and checked it out. [On the] flight home, it just kept getting bigger and bigger. So, we went in and did a bunch of tests at the hospital. They did the MRI first, and there was about seven or eight doctors looking at, it so I knew something was pretty serious.”
According to Couture, the injury is not related to his fractured right ankle, despite it being on the same side. He called the procedure a “full other surgery. My leg was really stiff for a while. It damaged some of the muscles.”
Couture admitted that he was worried about going under the knife.
“I was really scared and nervous going into it. … With a broken leg or shoulder or wrist, you kind of know what’s going to happen. When you have internal bleeding in your body, you never know. I was very scared, actually.”
“You never think of what ifs, but it could have been a lot worse if our trainers didn’t send me in for the MRI and didn’t realize the severity of it.”
DeBoer will not rush Couture back into the lineup, but was encouraged by what he saw on Sunday.
“It was a great, positive day today,” DeBoer said. “He was out on his own, then stayed out for a few drills with us. He’s got full range of motion. We’re taking some real good steps here. We played without him for a long time, and I just want to make sure when we get him back he’s good to go.”
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Joel Ward, who missed the previous two games after going into the boards head-and-shoulder-first late against Ottawa on Dec. 18, will be back in the lineup against Colorado. The 35-year-old is fourth on the team in goals (13) and points (23).
“Obviously I wasn’t out there running into guys, but I felt pretty good,” Ward said after practice. “I’m just excited that once I get going things will be OK, but I feel great.”
The Sharks lines for practice once Couture left the ice were as follows:
Dainius Zubrus – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Matt Nieto – Patrick Marleau – Joel Ward
Joonas Donskoi – Chris Tierney – Tommy Wingels
Melker Karlsson – Tomas Hertl – Mike Brown/Ben Smith
“You watch these first games back last night, usually the team that’s the smartest and doesn’t beat themselves are winning the games,” DeBoer said of coming out of the break. “I think we’ve got to make sure that we’re prepared to do that.”