Nabokov's 32 victories this season are second only to Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff, but he hasn't played since losing to Detroit on Feb. 25. After recalling goalie Thomas Greiss from their top minor league affiliate Thursday to serve as Brian Boucher's backup in Thursday's home meeting with Minnesota, the Sharks acknowledged Nabokov was hurt during Tuesday's practice.
Nabokov, a finalist for the Vezina Trophy last season, is 32-8-7 with five shutouts and a 2.48 goals-against average this year.
The Sharks have lost three of four games, including a 4-1 loss to Dallas on Tuesday night that was their worst home defeat of the season. San Jose began Thursday one point behind Detroit for the overall NHL lead.
Boucher has a stellar 1.96 GAA and .925 save percentage, and he began the season 10-1-2 before losing his last two starts to Montreal and Dallas. Coach Todd McLellan has been eager to get his seldom-used backup into more games down the regular-season stretch.
The Sharks also recalled left wing Jamie McGinn from Worcester to add depth up front. San Jose forwards Mike Grier, Jeremy Roenick and Claude Lemieux are all out of the lineup with injuries, although the 43-year-old Lemieux's upper-body injury isn't thought to be serious.
Roenick and Grier both might be sidelined until the postseason. Grier underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his knee earlier this week, while Roenick has a shoulder injury.
Forward Travis Moen and defenseman Kent Huskins won't play for the Sharks on Thursday night after joining the club in a trade with Anaheim. They're expected to play Saturday at Vancouver.