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Pavelski’s health improves, but Sharks taking cautious approach

SAN JOSE — Injured Sharks captain Joe Pavelski will not play against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, and may also miss Friday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks.
Pavelski, out with a lower body ailment, and Erik Karlsson, out with a groin injury, both skated Wednesday morning before the start of practice. Pavelski stayed out longer than Karlsson did, and said he was encouraged by how he felt.
“Feeling a little better. I feel like if I had to go, I could find a way,” Pavelski said. “Be a little cautious and go from there.”
Pavelski said he thought he the injury stemmed from a hit he took from Filip Forsberg in the first period of the Sharks’ loss to the Nashville Predators on Saturday, falling awkwardly on his right leg after he took a hit into the boards.
Pavelski’s injury comes at a critical juncture, as the Sharks still have designs on catching the Calgary Flames for first place in the Western Conference. Entering Thursday, the Sharks are three points back of Calgary as both teams have nine games remaining.
As much as the Sharks want Pavelski to be available for every game down the stretch, they also want to make sure he’ll be as healthy as possible once the NHL playoffs begin in the second week of April.
Pavelski did not sound overly concerned that the injury would linger between now and the start of the postseason.
“There’s not a specific date,” for a return, Pavelski said. “It’s see (how you feel when you) wake up the next day. Each day’s felt noticeably better. So it’s just about how aggressive you want to be getting back. I believe I can get out there sooner than later, but obviously there’s a big picture that we have in mind as well.
“I don’t think this is something you want to be lingering. We’ve got a couple little injuries now, but this team will bounce back for sure. We’ve played good hockey all year. There’s a couple areas we can tighten up. Going through some of the runs we’ve been through here, one thing that always sticks out is good health for teams that win. Especially at crucial times, it’s nice to be healthy.”
While Karlsson has missed the last nine games, Thursday’s game will mark just the second time in the last eight seasons that Pavelski will miss a game because of injury. The last such time was Jan. 11, 2011.
Pavelski, of course, battled an injury to his hand/wrist at the end of the 2016-17 season, a malady that carried over into the following year. Since he’s started this season fully healthy, Pavelski has a team-leading 37 goals and is third with 63 points.
“It was a nice run of good health and playing through a few issues along the way,” Pavelski said. “As players, we like to play games. You try and play as much as you can. Hopefully we can go another eight years.”
Please check back for updates.

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