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Sharks forward Torres aims for return without ACL

NHL.com @NHL

San Jose Sharks forward Raffi Torres said Tuesday he plans to start skating again in the next week, and when he does he'll do so without the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

Torres, who has played in 12 NHL games since the start of last season, spoke to reporters in San Jose.

"People have helped me along the way and I'm hoping that I can get back and start helping this team out the way I know I can," Torres said, according to CSN Bay Area. "At the end of the day, I haven't played in a couple years, but I feel good. Mentally, I feel refreshed. … Coming back here puts that fire back in my body."

CSN said infection caused doctors to remove the ACL. Torres was injured in a preseason game before last season and had surgery in September 2013. He returned in late February 2014, played five games, then sat out until the Western Conference First Round series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings, playing seven games in April.

He had an offseason procedure on the knee and later felt pain, which led to the discovery of a staph infection and the eventual removal of the ACL, CSN said.

"They think [the infection is] gone. Everything looks good," Torres said. "At this point now, it's kind of an old chapter. … There's no sign as far as I know that it can come back. That's part of the decision we made, opting not to do another [ACL repair] route, but deciding to just try and get this thing as strong as I can."

It is unknown if or when Torres, 33, can play again.

"I'm just trying to be hopeful that when I start skating it's not affecting me," he said. "If I can play at the level I need to play at, I'll keep going. If not, we'll have to sit down again and reassess the situation."

Sharks coach Todd McLellan said, "I know his teammates like having him around. We would much rather see him in equipment than shorts and a T-shirt and doing therapy, but at least it's a start. … It's been important for us to have him here, for both us and him."

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