Could Stamkos be ready for the Olympics? 'If he's 100 percent ... we'll deal with that at that time,' Yzerman says
Assuming a recovery window of three to six months for Lightning star center Steven Stamkos, general manager Steve Yzerman said that "barring any unforseen setbacks, I think it's reasonable to say he could be on the earlier side of that."
Yzerman's comments came after Stamkos met with reporters for the first time since he sustained a broken right tibia in a Nov. 11 game at Boston. Stamkos had surgery and had a titanium rod inserted into the bone. Yzerman said he expects Stamkos to play again this season. He just can't say exactly when.
"We're told it is a very broad range of a recovery period, so it's way too early for anybody to say, 'Oh, he'll be back in X amount of weeks,' but we're cautiously optimistic," Yzerman said.
A three-month recovery would create an interesting decision as that would almost exactly coincide with the start of the Olympics in Sochi, Russia. No doubt, Yzerman, the general manager for Team Canda, would love to have Stamkos in the lineup. But Yzerman said he will not rush Stamkos' recovery process.
"We couldn't do that. That would be wrong," he said. "We're dealing with a bone. In talking to the doctors about it, as long as we allow this the proper time to heal -- and that time varies from patient to patient -- he'll be as good as new if not better with the rod in there. We've just got to make sure it's healed and it's good to go. It could be before the Olympics. it could be during the Olympics. It could be after, so we'll just wait and see."
The first priority, Yzerman said, "is Steven's long-term health. What's the best thing for his leg, that's No. 1. If that means we get him back to play for Tampa this year, that would be great. If, by some chance, he's back prior to the Olympics and he's 100 percent and his strength is good and the doctors say the bone is completley healed and he's ready prior to the Olympics, we'll deal with that at that time."