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Burns’ availability for Sharks’ opener is uncertain

Jan 6, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

Brent Burns Getty Getty Images

Brent Burns took part in 81 games last season and all five of the San Jose Sharks playoff contests despite the fact that he was suffering through a groin injury and sports hernia in the second half of the year.

“We didn’t really know what it was, found it, found out and tried to fix it,” Burns said in a CSN Bay Area report.

The 27-year-old defenseman had surgery in May and was medically cleared on Oct. 9, but that might not be the end of the story.

He was only on the ice with his locked-out teammates for 20 minutes on Friday and when asked if he’d be available for the season opener if it takes place on Jan. 19, Burns dodged the question.

“I don’t know if you’re going to get a comment on that one. I’m going to plead the fifth on that one,” Burns said.

Losing Burns, who had 37 points and averaged 22:32 minutes per game last season, for any length of time would be an obvious blow, but it might be just part of a bigger problem for the Sharks.

San Jose blueliner Jason Demers is out with a broken wrist and isn’t likely to be available until the end of January at the earliest.

The silver lining is that the Sharks have a number of other defensemen capable of eating up ice time, including Dan Boyle, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and off-season addition Brad Stuart.

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