Report: After 45-game absence, Hertl to return for Sharks tonight

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The San Jose Sharks will welcome back rookie forward Tomas Hertl on Friday when they take on the Avs at the SAP Center.

The Sharks have not confirmed the 20-year-old will be back in the lineup, but CSN Bay Area sources confirm that will be the case, given two doctors — Dr. Mark Saffron at Stanford, and Dr. Anthony Miniaci, based out of Cleveland, OH — medically cleared Hertl for return.

Hertl, who was hurt on Dec. 19 following a collision with Kings captain Dustin Brown, has missed the last 45 games after undergoing surgery to repair the PCL and MCL ligaments in his right knee. Prior to getting hurt, Hertl was in the midst of a stellar rookie campaign in which he won October’s rookie of the month while scoring 15 goals and 25 points in his first 35 NHL contests.

Hertl was San Jose’s first-round pick (17th overall) at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. No word yet as to which line he’ll skate on tonight versus Colorado.