SAN JOSE – San Jose Sharks forward Martin Havlat underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a partially torn tendon in his left hamstring and will be sidelined for "an extended period of time" but should return before the stretch run, general manager Doug Wilson said.
"It's the best-case scenario for us," Wilson said.
Doctors feared that Havlat had a complete tear, which would have sidelined him for most if not all of the season, Wilson said -- but instead, Havlat could be back after missing just six to eight weeks.
"We don't pinpoint dates. Everybody heals differently," Wilson said. "I don't think you'd be out of line to assume that type of time line. Most importantly for us is to know that we're going to have him back certainly way in advance of the stretch run and be ready for the playoffs."
Havlat was injured midway through the third period Saturday against Edmonton in a freak accident during a shift change. As he jumped over the boards, his skate got caught on something, and he immediately felt pain in his left hamstring. Havlat landed on the ice and had to crawl off.
Havlat has had hamstring problems in the past, as early as the 2003-04 season and as recently as 2009-10. But he has never missed more than four games with a hamstring injury.
The Sharks recalled forward Benn Ferriero from Worcester, and he'll replace Havlat in the lineup against Tampa Bay. Havlat was skating on the third line, but coach Todd McLellan said Ferriero will skate on the first line with center Joe Thornton and winger Joe Pavelski. Torrey Mitchell is expected to move from the top line and take Havlat's spot on the third line.
"I think you take a look at what teams such as Pittsburgh and Minnesota have done. When people go down, other people get opportunities," Wilson said. "Benny Ferriero will come up. We've got some other players in Worcester that have played well. So that's what you do. I think the good news is, unlike some of the other injuries to top players in this league, to players who are out for a long period of time not knowing when they're going to come back, this is definitive. We know what it is. We know he'll be back to help us down the stretch run. So that's the way we're going to deal with it."
The Sharks acquired Havlat from Minnesota in a trade for Dany Heatley on July 3. That move came just 10 days after they sent Devin Setoguchi, prospect Charlie Coyle and a 2011 first-round draft pick to the Wild for defenseman Brent Burns. Havlat was expected to replace the speed the Sharks lost by dealing Setoguchi.
Havlat got off to a slow start with the Sharks. He missed the first four games while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and has just two goals and 15 points in 26 games -- but his second goal came Wednesday against Edmonton, and he had three points in his last two games before the injury.
"This is very fixable," Wilson said of Havlat's injury. "Frustrating, though, because he was playing very well, was right on track with how we want him to play. We'll deal with it like every other team has had to."