Sharks center Logan Couture returned to San Jose’s lineup on Dec. 8 after having missed all but three games this season. Now, after suiting up in two games and playing less than 22 total minutes, Couture is back on the shelf, this time with another leg injury.
Couture, 26, was originally put out of the lineup thanks to a fractured fibula. The break occurred in practice ahead of the Sharks Oct. 16 game against the New Jersey Devils, and the Sharks star pivot had gotten himself back in shape to finally suit up again Tuesday against the Calgary Flames. Wednesday, however, Couture suffered another injury to the same leg.
The Sharks announced Friday that Couture suffered “trauma to his right thigh, creating a Charley-horse effect which prohibited him from returning to the game.”
“Upon returning to San Jose, it was discovered that there was a small arterial bleed in the area,” the statement continued. “Last night, Logan underwent a successful procedure in San Jose to close the artery and is expected to make a full recovery. At this time, there is no projected time frame for his return to the ice but we do not expect this to be a long-term recovery.”
The Sharks made clear this new injury is not related to Couture’s previous ankle injury.
It’s yet another tough break for Couture, who has struggled with injury woes over the past three seasons. In February 2014, Couture was sidelined for 16 games with a hand injury and was back for less than a month before missing another game due to a lower-body injury. This season, he’s dealing with back-to-back leg injuries that could threaten to take more than one-third of the season from him.
Before returning from injury, Couture told SJSharks.com that he was more than ready for his return.
“I’ve been dying to get back in for the last little while,” Couture said. “It’s not easy watching, just practicing. Today was a good day, just to be out there with the guys on a regular line and feel like you’re part of the team again. I felt like myself finally.”
Couture is in the second season of a five-year, $30-million deal he signed with San Jose in June 2013. He’s been one of the standouts for the Sharks, and has quickly become one of the faces of the franchise. With veterans Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton likely near the end of their tenures in San Jose, Couture is part of the next generation of Sharks leaders.
Since Couture became a full-time NHLer in 2010-11, he is the fourth-highest scoring Sharks player behind Thornton, Joe Pavelski and Marleau. Couture’s 134 goals are third-most over that period, and no Sharks player has been more effective than Couture at counterattacking on the penalty kill — he has six shorthanded goals and nine points when San Jose is down a man.