There was some question whether the San Jose Sharks’ top centers would even play in the first round of the NHL playoffs. Both injured themselves in the final weeks of the regular season. Logan Couture took a puck to the face, and his mouth “looked like a collapsed mine.”

He played against the Edmonton Oilers, and so did veteran Joe Thornton. We learned on Monday what Thornton, 37, was dealing with a torn-up knee and hoo, boy. We don’t know how he did it.

From The Mercury News:

The knee injury that Sharks star Joe Thornton suffered was a significant one — he tore both his ACL and MCL before the NHL playoffs began, the team announced Monday.

Thornton, 37, played the last four games of the Sharks’ first-round playoff series against Edmonton after missing the first two.

“It’s as courageous an effort — him doing what he did — as I’ve ever seen,” said Sharks coach Peter DeBoer.

Uh, yeah. Thornton underwent surgery on Monday afternoon, and could require at least six months of rehab before he returns to the ice. At one point, Thornton put up over 20 minutes in one playoff game, a remarkable (and remarkably painful) feat.

Thornton is a free agent this summer, so the injury kind of throws his immediate future into doubt. He told The Mercury News he’d like to return to San Jose.

San Jose was eliminated by the Oilers in six games.