Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl is expected to return to the San Jose area later this week after undergoing surgery to repair damage to the MCL and PCL ligaments in his right knee on Tuesday. For now, the Sharks are only deeming Hertl’s timetable to return as “indefinite.” NHL teams are not required to disclose injury information.
[RELATED: Hertl has successful knee surgery]
A former NHL team trainer familiar with Hertl's type of injury told CSNCalifornia.com the “best case” scenario for Hertl to return would be approximately 12 weeks. More likely, Hertl will be out of action from six to nine months, which would keep him out the remainder of the 2013-14 season.
“A PCL is about as big around as your pinkie," said the trainer, who has not treated Hertl. "Let’s say a quarter of the PCL was torn, and they went in and cleaned up the fibers, and stuff like that. Well, then it won’t be six months. It will probably be three months.
“Usually, a PCL repair or reconstruction is about the same rehab time as an ACL reconstruction. If they truly reconstructed and fixed it, it’s a six to nine month process.”
The good news is that Hertl’s ACL did not incur any damage from the knee-on-knee hit from the Kings’ Dustin Brown on Dec. 19. That should ensure that the 20-year-old makes a full recovery and his skating and explosiveness is not negatively affected.
“As long as he gets a nice long repair and it heals, his quad is nice and strong, there are probably no long term affects at all from a PCL," the trainer said. "The ACL would be a problem. The fact that his ACL is intact and it’s just a PCL, it’s really kind of a blessing in disguise. The MCL will be a non-issue. In eight weeks, they won’t even be talking about it anymore.”
Hertl will likely need at least two to three weeks before the rehab process can begin, according to the source. In six to eight weeks, he should be able to start weight-bearing exercises.
“A lot of it has to do how he responds,” the trainer said.