SAN JOSE -- Brent Burns could be back in the lineup Thursday night when the Sharks open a season-long, five-game homestand against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Or not.

"I have to talk to the staff first and find out," coach Todd McLellan said after a Wednesday morning practice that saw Burns skate in his usual spot alongside Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl. "There'll be two decisions based on when he'll play -- the medical part, but also the timing and conditioning part."

McLellan said Burns has gotten good news on the medical front.

"I can tell you that he visited a doctor or two, and he got a really good report, so he's real close. Now it's conditioning and timing," the coach said. "But he looks good, he worked real hard while he's been off, so he's close."

San Jose Sharks forward Brent Burns on Nov. 1, 2013 in San Jose. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)
San Jose Sharks forward Brent Burns on Nov. 1, 2013 in San Jose. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)

Burns has been out with a facial injury that started when he was struck in the mouth by the stick of Ottawa Senators goalie Robin Lehner. The converted defenseman played three more games, helping stake the Sharks to a 7-0-1 start, but missed the next 13 games. San Jose has gone 6-3-4 in his absence.

Following team policy, Burns said very little about his condition. But it was clear he was looking forward to returning to the lineup, whenever that might be.

"You don't ever want to miss games. It's always the goal at the start of the year. It's not about points. It's about playing every game, and winning."

Burns skating on the Thornton line likely would bump Tommy Wingels onto a line with Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau.


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  • McLellan also had struggling forward Marty Havlat on the third line with Joe Pavelski and Tyler Kennedy.

    Havlat has one goal and one assist in eight games since returning from offseason pelvic surgery and was a healthy scratch in San Jose's 3-1 win over Edmonton last Friday night.

    General manager Doug Wilson said Friday that Havlat, a veteran with another year remaining on a contract with a cap hit of $5 million, would have to earn his ice time now that he's healthy because other players have shown what they can do in his absence.

  • Marleau skated Wednesday morning but said he was still a little sore from a Tuesday afternoon auto accident.

    "Just a little bit behind the neck and some other spots. But, pretty lucky I think," Marleau said.

    Marleau said the other driver pulled out right in front of him on West Taylor Street near Stockton Avenue.

    "I didn't have much time to react," Marleau said. "I just hammered on the brakes and went right into the side of him."

    The other driver was taken to a hospital, but witnesses said his injuries did not appear to be serious. A police spokesman said officers took an accident report, and that there likely will be no additional investigation because there were no criminal violations.