Steven Stamkos had another X-ray taken on his broken tibia on Monday. He said it looked good, but the 24-year-old forward won’t be ready to return when Tampa Bay resumes its schedule on Thursday, according to NHL.com.
Instead he has another medical evaluation scheduled for March 5 and if all goes well, he might be in the Lightning’s lineup the following day for their game against the Buffalo Sabres.
After sustaining the injury on Nov. 11, Stamkos was initially hopeful that he could represent Canada in the 2014 Winter Olympics. That looked like a real possibility at varying points during his recovery, but he recently conceded that he wasn’t as far along as he had thought.
With the Winter Games over, Stamkos is looking forward to moving on.
“I think now it was kind of a relief for that whole thing to be over and done with,” he said. “Just to get all that stuff out of the way and to focus on one thing and that’s getting back and playing for Tampa.”
The Lightning have done a remarkable job without Stamkos and currently rank second in the Atlantic Division with a 33-20-5. They seem poised to make the playoffs with or without him, but there’s no question that getting Stamkos back would be a huge boost for them going into the postseason.