Ryan Callahan says nagging hip issue 'extremely frustrating'
The mystery surrounding Ryan Callahan's status has been tough for Lightning fans.
It's even harder on the veteran Lightning wing, who remains sidelined due to his sore, surgically-repaired hip.
"It's been extremely frustrating," Callahan said. "I mean, four months recovery in the summer, then come back play 15 games, and out again for a month and a half or so. There have been a lot of ups and downs through the last month and a half. You want to be out there with the guys and playing."
It's been over a month since Callahan played, Nov. 27 against Boston. He said it's a possibility he returns next week, but doesn't know for sure. Saturday's team skate, his first in more than two weeks, was an encouraging step. The key, however, is how his hip responds. And for the past month, there has been too much lingering soreness the day after practices.
"Obviously you want it back to 100 percent if you've been dealing with it for this long," Callahan said. "If it's bothering me this much, you've got to get it back to where you're not having to worry about it the rest of the season. That's the biggest thing trying to get it back there.
"We thought we were close a couple times."
The hip had bothered Callahan for the second half of last season. Callahan underwent surgery June 21 to repair a torn labrum, and was expected to miss five months. He returned a bit earlier, on Oct. 30 against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Callahan said subsequent tests on the labrum have been fine.
But did Callahan return too soon?
"We've thought about it," Callahan said. "Through tests we ran, talked to the surgeon, everybody was on the same page and thought I was ready to come back. The schedule has a little bit to do with it, the amount of games we were playing in the short amount of time. It's easy to say I came back too early, but at that point everybody was on board and everybody felt I was ready to go, myself included.
"It's easy to say that now. If we were to go through it again, being at that point I probably would have come back again. Everybody felt like I was ready."