Avalanche's Joe Sakic sprays ice on Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov during the Western Conference playoff series in 2004.
Avalanche’s Joe Sakic sprays ice on Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov during the Western Conference playoff series in 2004.

DENVER — Colorado Avalanche captain Joe Sakic has the passion and persistence to return to the ice this season.

Now if only his left leg would cooperate.

Sakic is still trying to get the strength back in his leg after January surgery to repair a herniated disk.

However, the 39-year-old remains guardedly hopeful he can skate in a game before the home finale on April 12.

As for his long-term plans, Sakic refuses to even think about that until the summer.

“I just want to be able to try to come back,” said Sakic, who recently returned to the ice but has yet to go through contact. “Where the future stands, I’m not too sure.”

It’s been another injury-filled season for Sakic, who decided to return for a 20th year after almost retiring during the offseason. Sakic had his most trying season in 2007-08, missing 38 games after hernia surgery.

This season has been even more taxing.

Sakic originally strained his back in the weight room in early November, causing him to miss a game against Minnesota.

He briefly returned before hurting it again at Phoenix on Nov. 28.

Captain Joe hasn’t played since.

In December, Sakic mangled his left hand in a snow blower accident when he tried to clear snow from the machine at his home.

While sidelined, he underwent surgery on his bothersome back.

He’s still waiting for the strength to return in his left leg, part of the slow process of nerve regeneration.

In the meantime, he’s growing quite anxious.

“We’re trying to get it back as strong as possible,” said Sakic, who pronounced his hand fit and feeling fine. “Hopefully, sometime by the end of the year, I’ll be able to make it.”