Cheechoo said the decision to play was up to him. If his knee swells or the pain worsened, then he said he would not be able to play. San Jose coach Ron Wilson said the decision would be made at game time. San Jose won the opener 5-4 in double overtime Wednesday night, with Game 2 of the best-of-seven series Friday night.
"Mentally, I'm preparing to play Joe Pavelski, but we'll see during warmups and how he feels," said Wilson, who had not spoken to Cheechoo.
Cheechoo, who had a team-high 37 goals during the season, hurt his right knee nine minutes into the second period Wednesday night in a knee-on-knee collision with Nashville forward Scott Hartnell. The Sharks had hoped the play would result in a suspension to Hartnell, but that did not happen.
An MRI showed only a sprain, and Wilson said he would talk to the team doctors about whether Cheechoo could further damage the knee if he played. The Sharks have the advantage of two days off before Game 3 on Sunday.
Cheechoo had no brace on his right knee. He is a key piece of the Sharks' top line, and his 130 goals are the most among players entering the NHL since 2002-03.
The Predators contend the collision was unintentional. Cheechoo doesn't agree.
"He stuck out his knee whether he wants to admit it or not," he said. "I've seen the tape. His knee came out."