SAN JOSE, Calif. – As if the Sharks don't have enough problems trailing Vancouver 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals, captain Joe Thornton suffered an apparent shoulder injury with 10:47 left in the third period Sunday.
Thornton took a shoulder to shoulder hit along the boards from Canucks forward Raffi Torres. He left the ice and did not return for another shift during the Sharks' 4-2 loss in Game 4.
After the game, Sharks coach Todd McLellan was asked to give an update on Thornton's condition or his status for Tuesday's Game 5 in Vancouver.
"I can't right now," McLellan said. "We'll see once I get an update."
Thornton is typically the first Shark available to reporters after games, but after Sunday's game he was not at his locker in the dressing room.
"I'm not sure what happened to Joe, but he's one of the best players in the world and losing him was tough," Sharks rookie Logan Couture said. "But knowing Joe, he hates missing games, and he'll play."
Losing Thornton for Game 5 would be a huge blow for the Sharks. He has 17 points and is tied for postseason scoring lead with Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier.
This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.