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Couture Suffers Another Injury Setback, Barabanov Out 4-6 Weeks

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

Logan Couture has suffered another setback.

The San Jose Sharks captain, who’s yet to play a game this season, has seen a couple starts and stops in his recovery from an off-season lower-body injury.

After missing the beginning of training camp on Sept. 21, Couture started skating on his own two weeks later, fueling some optimism that a return could be in short order. Before the season opener on Oct. 12, however, San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn acknowledged that Couture had a setback and would take a break from skating.

Within a week, Couture was back on the ice, and as recently as early last week, was said by Quinn to be doing well.

That is, until last Friday.

“Little bit of a setback, so we’re holding him off the ice here as of right now,” Quinn said on Tuesday.

How long a break?

“As much as he needs, as much as his body tells him it’s time to go back,” Quinn said. “It’s really no timetable on that.”

The San Jose Sharks and a frustrated Couture are hoping this rest will do the trick.

“Hopefully, the time off will get him back in a better spot,” Quinn said. “But kind of like with [Matt Benning], he’s a guy you gotta protect him from himself. Tell him we’ll look big picture here. It’s not about getting ready to play one game. It’s about coming back, being healthy, for the rest of the season.”

Speaking of Benning, the veteran defenseman was placed on IR today with a lower-body injury. So he’s out at least a week, maybe longer. Benning had missed the Sharks’ Oct. 27 contest against the Carolina Hurricanes to take a rest from that same lower-body ailment, but had come back for the next game against the Washington Capitals.

“I think he’s been frustrated with his play,” Quinn said. “One of the reasons why you love him, he’s a battler and he’s a warrior and he’s gonna fight through it and he’s not making excuses. Really, protecting him from himself as well [as] holding him off and putting him on IR, give him a chance to get healthy, when he comes back, be the player we know he’s capable of being.”

This move does help provide some clarity for the San Jose Sharks roster, which would’ve been one blueliner too many if Benning was healthy, with Jacob MacDonald re-joining practice and Nikita Okhotiuk’s conditioning assignment with the San Jose Barracuda concluding on Tuesday. For now, Quinn will shift forward-defenseman MacDonald up front, and the Sharks will run this 22-man roster.

Forwards (13): Ryan Carpenter, Anthony Duclair, William Eklund, Mikael Granlund, Tomas Hertl, Mike Hoffman, Luke Kunin, Kevin Labanc, Jacob MacDonald, Givani Smith, Nico Sturm, Filip Zadina, Fabian Zetterlund

Defensemen (7): Kyle Burroughs, Ty Emberson, Mario Ferraro, Nikolai Knyzhov, Nikita Okhotiuk, Jan Rutta, Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Goalies (2): Mackenzie Blackwood, Kaapo Kahkonen

Finally, Quinn gave a timeline for Alexander Barabanov’s broken finger, which will not need surgery. The San Jose Sharks bench boss hopes Barabanov, who suffered the injury on Oct. 24 against the Florida Panthers, will be ready to play in 4-6 weeks.

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