Stamkos could begin light contact in Saturday's skate
Lightning star center Steven Stamkos says he hopes to begin practicing with light contact in Saturday's skate, the next step in his rehab from a broken right tibia.
Stamkos, who suffered the injury Nov. 11, said the 10-week x-ray taken Thursday night was encouraging, and if everything continutes to progress, he may be able to play in one of the Lightning's two home games (Feb. 6, Feb. 8) before the Olympic break. Stamkos has worn a red non-contact jersey during the team's practices the past week, but could start getting pushed more physically in Saturday's skate, with a key how his leg responds.
"I'm very pleased with how the bone is healing," Stamkos said. "I think it's pretty close to a point where it comes down to how I'm feeling out there."
Stamkos x-rays revealed enough bone formation where the leg is stable, and while there's some soft tissue pain, he's felt good each time he's tested it further, including doing more jumping in the gym Thursday night.
Stamkos said the extra time he's put on the ice has helped with his conditioning, though admits when he gets back "it'll feel like the start of the year again." There will be another x-ray taken in a couple weeks, at the 12-week point, which he believes will be more for "mental purposes."
If Stamkos returns Feb. 6 or Feb. 8, before the Sochi Olympics, it would beat even his optimistic goal of 12 weeks post-injury.
"When we talked about it being three months, 12 weeks, it was very aggressive," Stamkos said. "But saying that, I like to think that being young and being able to do all the rehab I've been able to do, having that postive mindset that it can be before that. That's obviously something that we were shooting at as soon as I was in the hospital, 12 weeks from now, hopefully I can be back. That's the goal, we're going to shoot towards taht goal and hopefully we can accomplish it."