Sharks' Logan Couture confident team can close gap during injury rehab

Brian Witt
NBC Sports BayArea

Logan Couture can't catch a break.

In the last few years, the Sharks captain has undergone severe oral surgery to essentially rebuild his mouth, broken his right fibula, suffered from arterial bleeding and, most recently, fractured his left ankle.

"This isn't as bad," Couture told NBC Sports California's Brodie Brazil. "At least I can drive my car and do that and get around a little bit with this scooter."

The injury occurred in San Jose's 3-2 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues last week when Couture went awkwardly into the boards after a collision with defenseman Vince Dunn. Couture immediately grabbed for his left knee, but it wasn't until he got back to the locker room when he realized the full extent of the damage.

"I got my stuff off, my skates off," Couture described, "and I couldn't stand on my left foot, so I figured there was something wrong. Got x-rays done right in St. Louis. Nothing came up so thought maybe I got lucky and didn't break anything, but had an MRI the following day and it showed up on there that there was a fracture.

"So, pretty disappointing to hear that news from our doctor."

The injury is expected to keep Couture out up to six weeks, which would force him to miss a large portion of the remainder of the regular season as the Sharks attempt to climb back into the playoff race. That's difficult for him to accept, but the fact that the team recently has taken a step forward makes it a slightly easier pill to swallow.

"It's tough," Couture said. "It's tough to sit out any games. But it does make it easier that we're playing better hockey. We're playing the way that we should and the way that we can win hockey games, so that makes it a little bit easier. I've got confidence in the guys to go out and win some games and hopefully by the time I get back, we're still in the race and close to a playoff spot."

After losing 6-3 to the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday, the Sharks currently sit eight points back of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference, with four teams to leapfrog between them and the Winnipeg Jets. It's been a disappointing season thus far for San Jose, and a challenging one for Couture in his first season as captain.

"It's been difficult," he explained. "It is just a letter on the jersey. I'm fortunate here that there's a lot of guys that have been captains and guys that have led teams before, but it's tough. When you're going through tough times, it really shows the character of each individual. It's been a difficult year for a lot guys, as a team, but I think we've gotten through the toughest part of our year.

"I think we've turned a corner these last two weeks and we're finding out really, truly what type of team we are. We've still got 30-something games left to make a run here, so I'm looking forward to seeing how we do it."

[RELATED: Couture takes responsibility for fractured left ankle]

While Couture will have to rely on his teammates to close the gap in the standings while he recovers, he doesn't expect to be limited when he returns.

"As long as the bone makes a full recovery, then I should be fine."

Sharks' Logan Couture confident team can close gap during injury rehab originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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