Sharks C Joe Thornton needs ACL surgery before free agency

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San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton will undergo surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left knee before becoming a potential free agent this summer.

Thornton tore the ACL and MCL in his knee on April 2 in Vancouver but still returned to play San Jose's final four playoff games in a first-round loss to Edmonton. The Sharks say Thornton will have the operation Monday and there is no timetable for when he will be healthy again.

The 37-year-old Thornton can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, putting his future in San Jose in question. He has been the face of the Sharks, along with fellow 37-year-old pending free agent Patrick Marleau. Both players said at locker clean out day that they would like to return.

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