Steven Stamkos took part in his first full team practice on Friday since his November injury, but that doesn’t mean he’s actually any closer to returning to the Tampa Bay Lightning lineup.
The Lightning captain also spoke to the media, and there’s no indication he’ll be returning any time soon — or even this regular season. With an 82-game regular season, tomorrow’s game against the Capitals is the team’s 71st.
Stamkos had started the season off strong but got injured on Nov. 15, and had to have knee surgery on his leg.
At practice on Friday, Stamkos skated on a line with Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point. Ondrej Palat, Jake Dotchin, Tyler Johnson and Cedric Paquette were all out.
Palat and Dotchin not skating due to body maintenance #tblightning— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) March 17, 2017
Cooper wanted to pump brakes on Stamkos. Return not imminent. Part of reason he did practice today was so they could field full team— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) March 17, 2017
With ‘90s hit “Torn” playing in the background, here’s what Stamkos had to say after practice.
"When it's 100 percent, I'll be back," Stamkos said Friday, his first comments since surgery. "It's a question I can't answer. I've had a lot of ups and downs in this rehab process, where it feels like it's never going to get better. Then you have a week where it goes through the roof in regards to how you're feeling.
"I'll be playing when it feels ready. And I can't say it feels ready right now. But it was a start."
Read Joe Smith’s full article here.
Call us an alarmist, but, should Stamkos have been practicing at all with the entire team, since the only reason he did so was they could have a full team practice? It’s reported he wore a regular jersey, which means contact is allowed. What if a freak accident occurred? Why couldn’t other players be double shifted?