Raffi Torres
AP

Heads up: Torres says he’s ready for Sharks opener

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Just when you thought it was safe to swim behind the red line again …

All labored “Jaws” references aside, Raffi Torres believes that he’s healthy enough to play in the San Jose Sharks’ season opener, according to CSNBayArea.com’s Kevin Kurz.

Kurz explains that the bigger question is whether Sharks management, particularly head coach Peter DeBoer, believes that he’s truly capable.

” … Obviously with him, he’s been out a long time. He’s worked awfully hard to get to this point,” DeBoer said. “I think if you asked him, he’s probably not where he was when he left healthy, but he’s working back towards that and I think he’s getting better every game.”

Indeed, Torres admitted that he’s still a bit limited by right knee issues that have troubled him for the past couple years. Torres said that he “had no real jump” during the second and third periods of a recent exhibition, for instance.

That doesn’t really sound too promising, although Torres is still able to land some big hits here and there.

That intimidating presence – along with an ability to keep up, at least before his knee injury – was part of what made Torres so valuable before.

Torres says “I’ll let my play dictate my fate,” but the Sharks are ultimately the ones who get to choose his destiny.

Sharks ‘cautiously optimistic’ Torres (knee) can participate in camp

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game Five
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Raffi Torres has played just 12 games over the last two years due to a myriad of knee problems.

But there is hope for his return.

“He’s heading in the right direction,” new Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said this week, per CBS Sacramento. “[That’s] probably the best way I can term it. We’ll see. We’re all cautiously optimistic.”

The optimism, specifically, is for Torres to try and take the ice when San Jose’s camp begins on Friday, Sept. 18. Torres, who didn’t play at all last year and underwent season-ending knee surgery in February, is heading into the last of a three-year, $6 million deal with a $2 million average annual cap hit — a contract that, for the most part, he’s been unable to live up to.

Though it wasn’t for a lack of effort.

Torres initially had ACL replacement surgery in ’13-14 and worked hard to return, which he did during the club’s opening-round playoff collapse to Los Angeles. What followed, though, was a series of infections that led to a second ligament replacement procedure (the aforementioned February surgery.)

It’ll be very curious to see how Torres fares this season.

He turns 34 in October, hasn’t played in over 16 months and has to fight with a number of young wingers for minutes up front, including new Finnish rookie Joonas Donskoi who, according to AHL coach Roy Sommer, could be with the big club to start the season.

Torres undergoes another ACL surgery, won’t return until next season

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game Two
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The San Jose Sharks officially put a wrap on Raffi Torres’ 2014-15 campaign Thursday, announcing the veteran forward underwent a second ACL surgery yesterday, one that rules him out for the remainder of this season.

More, from CSN Bay Area:

Torres, who had a problematic right ACL removed in the offseason, had the ligament replaced from a cadaver. It’s essentially the same surgery he had on Sep. 26, 2013, after which he suffered numerous infections.

The delay for Torres’ most recent surgery was to ensure that no further infections occur, according to [Sharks GM Doug] Wilson.

Torres, 33, has only appeared in five regular-season and seven playoff games since suffering the initial ACL tear during an exhibition game against Anaheim in 2013, and hasn’t appeared in any contests this year.

Per Wilson, the gritty winger should be ready to return for next season’s training camp, at which time Torres will be in the last of a three-year, $6 million with a $2M average annual cap hit.

Torres skates, but has ‘a long way to go’ before returning

Raffi Torres
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Raffi Torres hasn’t played a game this season for the San Jose Sharks. But he appears to be working towards a comeback, having skated on Wednesday, according to a report in the San Jose Mercury News.

“We’re not counting him out,” head coach Todd McLellan told the San Jose Mercury News.

“If anybody can fight back it’d be Raffi. . . . I met with him today and he had a smile on his face, which was really good to see. He’s going to do everything in his power to come back and help the team, but he does have a long way to go.”

The 33-year-old Torres, a hard-hitting and gritty winger throughout his career, last played in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, on April 30, against the L.A. Kings.

In late November, it was reported he had hoped to soon start skating, after choosing in October to not undergo a second ACL surgery.

Torres aims to resume skating soon — without his right ACL

Raffi Torres
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Here’s the latest on injured San Jose forward Raffi Torres, who’s yet to play this year due to complications from a knee injury.

From CSN Bay Area:

Torres has been around since last Monday, and hopes to begin skating in the next week or so, after multiple infections in his surgically repaired right knee resulted in a complete removal of his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

“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. “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.”

Tuesday was the first time Torres spoke publicly since returning to the Bay Area in the hopes of resuming skating. He was only able to play a handful of regular season games last year and limped his way through San Jose’s opening-round playoff collapse to Los Angeles; Torres then spent the last few months rehabbing, trying to strengthen the muscles around the ACL-less knee while visiting doctors to ensure the infections had cleared completely.

Now, the next step — getting back on the ice.

Neither Torres nor the Sharks are putting any timetable on a return, and the 33-year-old acknowledges his knee might not respond the way he wants. That said, Torres isn’t looking too far down the road, opting to employ the “one day at a time” approach.

“I’m just trying to be hopeful that when I start skating it’s not affecting me,” he explained. “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.”