Tampa Bay sniper Steve Stamkos suffered a broken right tibia during a collision in the Lightning’s 3-0 loss to Boston on Monday.
UPDATE: Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has confirmed Stamkos will undergo surgery to fix the break.
“At this point Steven will be out indefinitely,” Yzerman said in a statement. “The medical staff in Boston, in consultation with our team physicians, has made the decision to surgically repair the injury. The procedure is expected to take place [Tuesday] morning.”
Based on previous cases, it’s possible the two-time Maurice Richard Trophy winner could be out 3-6 months. Suffice to say, tibia breaks requiring surgery are serious — in 2001, then-Canucks forward Markus Naslund suffered one in a game against Buffalo.
Naslund, 27, broke both the tibia, the larger of two bones in the lower leg, and the fibia, in a game against the Buffalo Sabres. The left-winger spent the night in hospital in Buffalo, N.Y., before being flown to Vancouver on Saturday night.
[Dr. Bill] Regan explained the tibia takes 90 per cent of the weight when you walk. During the procedure, a rod was inserted down the middle of the bone and then had screws placed across it, inside the bone.
“That secured rotational stability of the fracture,” Regan said.
Naslund was alert after the operation and could leave hospital as early as Tuesday.
“There’s no need for him to have a cast,” said Regan. “He can start immediately with a range of motion of his knee and his ankle.
“He will be non-weight bearing for approximately 10 to 12 weeks. He can begin working on his muscles around his knee almost immediately.
“When the fracture has healed he should be ready to start skating. That is somewhere in the next three to four months.”
Granted, no two injuries are identical and it’s premature to suggest Stamkos’ recovery and/or rehab will mirror that of Naslund’s.
Another instance of a player fracturing his tibia and requiring surgery — Andrew Ference, with Boston during the 2008-09 campaign — was quite different. Ference suffered the break in mid-November and underwent surgery to place a pin in his leg, returning to the lineup two-and-a-half months later (missing 31 games in total).
Whatever the case may be, Stamkos’ Olympic chances have taken a definite hit. Team Canada will play its first game in 95 days and Yzerman needs to have his 23-man roster into the IIHF by the end of December. It could be incredibly risky to place Stamkos on that roster if he’s not fit to play.