SAN JOSE — Sharks associate coach Larry Robinson said the coaching staff will likely decide at game time whether defenseman Dan Boyle plays Wednesday against the Kings in Los Angeles.
Robinson, filling in for Todd McLellan, who flew straight to Los Angeles for a personal commitment after the Sharks played in Ottawa on Sunday, said because the team is playing well, it does not have to necessarily rush Boyle back into the lineup.
The Sharks, in first place in the Pacific Division and winners of four of the last five, take on the Kings for the first time since the two teams met in the Western Conference semifinals last season.
"It's a good luxury for us to have, because we can bring him in when we think it's best for him," Robinson said. "When the team is going well, those are decisions that you can make."
Boyle, who has missed the last six games after he was knocked unconscious on a hit by St. Louis' Maxim Lapierre on Oct. 15, participated in Tuesday's practice as he skated for the fifth time since the injury.
Boyle said Tuesday he has not had any headaches since he began his recovery, but added he did not know if he was going to play against the Kings. After practice, he planned to talk to team trainer Ray Tufts and the coaching staff to figure out the next step.
"What they have planned and what I have planned might be two different things," Boyle said.
This is the longest Boyle has been out of game action since the start of the 2007 season, his last year in Tampa Bay, when he missed almost half the season after a skate slipped off a hook in his locker, severing three tendons.
Asked if he'd like to play against the Kings, Boyle said, "I want to play, period. I don't care who it is. With the exception of the year I slit my wrist, I've never kind of gone through this sitting out stuff. I don't enjoy it."
Since Boyle's injury, the Sharks have kept just six defensemen.