Despite reports, Steven Stamkos could be back for Final
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos isn't participating in the playoffs so far, yet he's still in the news.
A report from Canada's TSN Monday suggested that it'd be unlikely Stamkos would be ready to join Tampa Bay even if it reached the Stanley Cup Final. Stamkos, who underwent surgery April 4 to remove a blood clot from his right collarbone, was expected to be out 1-3 months, and there's been no indication from the team that timeline has changed.
The TSN report quoted national experts who worked with athletes with blood clots.
But Stamkos' surgeon, Dr. Karl Illig, said while he can't specifically discuss the Lightning captain, it's certainly possible - in general - an athlete can return in two months with this condition, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. The Cup Final would likely begin around the start of June.
"Definitely be possible to be back in two months," Illig told the Tampa Bay Times. "Often they are physically ready before that, just blood thinners make the difference."
There's no guarantee Stamkos would be back by then, and the Lightning would have to get that far first. But Stamkos would likely know more on how long he'll have to be on blood thinners in an upcoming ultrasound. He left the hospital last week and has been a presence with teammates, joining them for a team dinner on the eve of Game 1, watching games from the lockeroom.
Wing Alex Killorn said Stamkos told them to "Just go to the finals and maybe I'll see you."
While there's still a long way to go to get to that point - the Lightning up 2-1 in a best-of-seven first round series with Detroit - that kind of return hasn't been ruled out.