The Tampa Bay Lightning had hoped that Steven Stamkos would make a triumphant return to the lineup that would power team team in a late-season push for the playoffs.
Evidently, neither will happen.
Stamkos said Thursday that it “wasn’t looking good” for a return to the ice before the regular season ends Sunday.
“It’s probably not looking that good,” Stamkos told the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s frustrating from an individual perspective where I want to be out there trying to help my team — especially at this (time of) year — but it just doesn’t feel right.”
“If it doesn’t feel right, you can’t expect to be able to go out there and do the things you can when you’re healthy,” Stamkos said. “Obviously with a significant injury, which it was, we want to make sure things heal so you don’t have to deal with it again. It’s tough. I want to be out there as much as anyone. I think I showed that last year coming back for Game 7 (of the Eastern Conference Final).”
Stamkos said when he feels right, he’ll be back, pointing out it was most likely a five-month recovery from the start (which would put it in mid-April). The biggest issue is that his knee flexion is “very limited.”
“It’s gotten better, we kind of hit a pleateau, it was frustrating,” Stamkos said. “There was no setback. Everything still progressed. But it wasn’t a minor procedure. This is pretty major, and there are a lot of working parts when it comes to the knee with having the tissue heal, scar tissue. Things that are kind of behind the scenes that have been tough. We’ve been working hard, just hasn’t been there yet.”
Stamkos had gotten his year off well. He scored nine goals in 17 games before his injury.