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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lightning's Steven Stamkos on track for early return

By on 12/04/2013 02:03:00 PM

When it happened, the entirety of TD Garden in Boston became reverently quiet as Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos lay prone on the ice, his muffled screams echoing through the cavernous home of the Boston Bruins.

Stamkos tried to get to his skates after plowing into the right post of the goal on November 11th, but he crashed back to the ice in agony, his broken right tibia unable to support his 190 pounds.  The Bruins' fans know all too well the agony, what with their own Gregory Campbell breaking the same bone in last season's Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Campbell was done for the season, but Stamkos' prognosis is much happier, almost miraculous.

Since breaking the leg and having a titanium rod inserted to facilitate the healing process, Stamkos has been aggressively rehabilitating, wearing a removable cast that allows him to speed up the process:

"To be able to do what I'm doing now and almost comeback to a normal life, being able to just move around on your own, I'm definitely happy with that. I'd say I've overcome the initial shock and frustration and disappointment, and now it's what do I have to do to get back as quick as possible. But obviously as smart as possible." - Steven Stamkos

Targeting a February 6th return date may seem a little too aggressive for a guy that was projected to be out from three to six months, but he plans on kicking his rehab into the stratosphere after Christmas, hitting the training camp two-a-day mode to get into game shape - but Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman is preaching caution.

"We want a healthy Stammer - and not just for this year, but for years to come - he's 23 years old.  He's got a long career ahead of him.  We're not going to do anything that jeopardizes him.  He's not coming back before he's 100 percent." - Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman

The Lightning have hung tough without their leading scorer, trailing the Bruins by just three points for the best record in the Eastern Conference, which is a testament to the overall chemistry in the room, and to get back a player who has scored 222 goals and has more points than NHL game played could put them right on top.


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