SAN JOSE — Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson will have surgery this week to repair the broken left thumb that will keep him out of the lineup for the rest of the regular season.
Karlsson said he will fly to Los Angeles on Monday for the surgery, which will be performed by Dr. Steven Shin, the same surgeon who has performed hand operations on Warriors star Steph Curry and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
Karlsson said the broken thumb came as a result of a slap shot he blocked from defenseman Dmitry Kulikov in the third period of Friday’s game with the Winnipeg Jets.
Karlsson was standing in front of the Sharks’ crease and had just finished checking Mark Scheifele when he was hit by Kulikov’s shot from just inside the blue line.
“It (stinks),” Karlsson said. “Unfortunately it’s one of those things you can’t really control or protect yourself against. It’s a fluke thing. We block a lot of shots out there and there’s a lot of times where you get hit bad, and unfortunately this one was just a bad situation that hit in the wrong spot.”
Karlsson is third on the Sharks this season with 74 blocks, behind Brent Burns (89) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
“If you start playing on the perimeters, maybe you can stay injury free, but that’s not the way I like to approach things,” Karlsson said. “I am where I want to be and I can’t go any further. So, I’m going to give it my all all the time. and I get hit by a puck and broke my thumb.”
Karlsson, whoand leads the Sharks with 40 points in 56 games, said X-rays done in Winnipeg revealed the fracture. Once he meets with Shin, they will have a clearer idea of the extent of the damage.
“But from what (Shin) saw, it’s nothing he hasn’t seen before, it’s not something that’s complicated,” Karlsson said. “It’s just unfortunate. … It’s not one of those where you can let it heal by itself.”
The Sharks beat the Jets 3-2 and topped the Minnesota Wild 2-0 on Saturday. They enter Monday’s game with the Florida Panthers with a 26-28-4 record and sit sixth in the Pacific Division.
The Sharks had already lost Tomas Hertl for the season with torn ligaments in his left knee. Logan Couture is recovering from a fracture in his ankle and skated again Sunday, but there remains no clear timeline for when he might return.