Tampa, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning and center Steven
Stamkos, who is nearly recovered from a broken leg suffered in early November,
issued joint statements on Wednesday which revealed that he will not play in
the upcoming Sochi Olympics.
"After reviewing the CT scan this afternoon, Dr. Gutentag made it clear to me
and to Steven that the tibia is not completely healed and therefore he should
not be participating in game action at any time in the near future," Bolts GM
Steve Yzerman said. "Although the doctor was very pleased to this point with
the healing process, he explained that the callus surrounding the fracture
site is not 100 percent consolidated, and Steven will not be cleared to play
in a game until that happens. It was a pretty clear cut decision, no gray
areas at all."
Stamkos, who was expected to make an impact on Team Canada's front lines,
suffered a fractured tibia while backchecking on a play during the second
period of a 3-0 loss to the Bruins in Boston on Nov. 11. He was entangled with
Boston defenseman Dougie Hamilton and fell to the ice while sliding feet-first
before his lower right leg slammed into the right post, forcing the net off
its moorings and the leg to bend awkwardly at the contact point.
The 23-year-old was tied for the NHL lead in goals (14) and points
(23) before the setback. He has missed the last 39 games while recovering.
"Today is obviously very disappointing for me," Stamkos said. "I honestly
believe that we did everything possible in order to have my injured leg ready
in time for the Olympics, but I realize you can't force healing. I know, in
the best interest of my long term health, I cannot represent Canada in Sochi,
as much as I would like to. I would like to thank the training staff for their
dedication and hard work and I look forward to returning to the Lightning once
cleared by the medical team."
Stamkos will continue to rehabilitate and is expected to be re-evaluated in 2-
to-3 weeks. The Lightning have two more games on the docket (Toronto, Detroit)
before the NHL's break, and resumes play on Feb. 27 at Nashville.
The Sports Network