The Sharks will be starting the season without one of their top defensemen, but nobody is offering specifics on either the lower body injury to Brent Burns or how long he might be out.

"I don't have an idea on timeline, I really don't," coach Todd McLellan said after Friday's skate. "I think we'll see him skating quite quickly, and then we've just got to get him up to speed. It'll be a day-to-day thing for a while."

Burns, who drew leaguewide attention with a team mug shot with wild hair and an extremely bushy beard, has not been available for several days and even then declined to talk about his situation.

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound defenseman is considered one of the mainstays on San Jose's blue line. He underwent sports hernia surgery in May, was declared healthy by the team on Oct. 9 and skated during the final days of the lockout. He has not been seen on the ice since camp opened.

McLellan dismissed the suggestion Burns might have started skating too soon.

"I don't think so," the coach said. "He took care of himself. He was out there trying to get himself ready."

McLellan acknowledged the team will miss Burns on defense, where a wrist injury has sidelined Jason Demers as well.

"He's got size, a tremendous shot, he can skate and play a lot of minutes," McLellan said of Burns. "It's a big hole."