Raffi Torres is just eight days away from being eligible to return from his 41-game suspension.
But earlier this week, he admitted that — sometimes — his return feels a lot farther away.
“Personally, I expect to go out there and I want to be pain-free and play. But, the reality is there are some hurdles,” Torres told CSN Bay Area. “If I can get over them and get over the hump, I still feel like I can be effective in this league.
“But, if I don’t, then it’s obviously time to think about some other things.”
This isn’t the first time brakes have been tapped on Torres’ return. Back in early December, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer admitted the veteran forward was still dealing with his problematic right knee — specifically, the surgically repaired ACL that’s undergone a variety of procedures over the last two years, costing him all of the ’14-15 campaign.
Later than month, Torres admitted he probably wouldn’t be healthy by the time his suspension is lifted on Jan. 14.
This is, however, the first time Torres has talked around a potential retirement (at least publicly, anyway).
It’s easy to see why the 34-year-old is contemplating it, though. His last game of significance came in April of 2014, meaning he’s been out of action for over 20 months.
Still, there’s a part of Torres that really doesn’t want to call it quits.
Part of it stems from how much the Sharks have invested in him — “I owe it to the organization who stuck with me,” he explained — and there’s probably part of him that wants to go out on his own terms, not on the heels of a massive suspension for hitting Jakob Silfverberg in the head during a preseason game.
At the same time, Torres is aware how big this challenge is.
“I’m not a spring chicken anymore,” he said. “I know where I’m at in my career.”