We're used to hockey players putting their bodies on the line in every game and never letting, say, a couple of missing teeth keep them off the ice.
Joe Thornton took that ethos to extremes during the Sharks' first-round playoff series against the Oilers, though, playing with a couple of missing knee ligaments.
San Jose coach Peter DeBoer revealed Monday that Thornton gutted through the final four games of the series with torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee. Thornton sat out the first two games of the series, which Edmonton won 4-2.
The injury happened April 2 against the Canucks, and all indications at the time were that it was serious. The 37-year-old sat out the Sharks' final three regular-season games and the first two installments of the Oilers series before returning April 16, even though, as DeBoer put it, "basically his knee was floating."
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) April 24, 2017
Thornton topped 22 minutes of ice time in Games 5 and 6 but couldn't get the Sharks over the top. He was set to go to the doctor later Monday and expects to have knee surgery soon.
He wasn't the only one playing hurt, either. Patrick Marleau played the series with a broken thumb and Tomas Hertl with a broken foot.