Stamkos didn't practice Monday, but says not a setback
Update 12:25 p.m. Lightning star Steven Stamkos said when he came out on the ice before practice today, his surgically-repaired right leg just didn't feel right, so he decided to "err on the side of caution" and not participate in practice.
Stamkos, who did an off-ice workout instead, insisted he doesn't believe it's a step back, that he's had a lot more good days than bad in his rehab, which is still way ahead of schedule.
"Whenver it doesn't feel good, it's a little frustrating," Stamkos said. "But I've not gone through something like this bfore, so when things dont' feel well, you want answers right away, and you want to know how to fix it. But it's not necessarily that easy. It's been tough, the days it doesn't feel good, especially after the strides that I've taken and how good I felt on the ice the other day. But you have to be smart with this. I thought today was a smart decision and we'll see how it feels tomorrow."
Coach Jon Cooper said Stamkos is still "way ahead of the curve" on his recovery and everything is status quo. Stamkos, who suffered the a broken right tibia Nov. 11, has practiced with the team often since Jan. 2, even moving up to wearing a yellow (light contact) jersey during Saturday's morning skate. His 10-week x-ray on Thursday was very encouraging.
"You can't sit here and say that's a setback," Cooper said. "A setback would be that he's not coming on the trip. But he is coming on the trip, and everything is going as planned."
Stamkos said his goal is still to play a game with the Lightning next week and play for Team Canada in the Olympics, noting he's been on an "aggressive' rehab plan. He knows his status will be magnified in this week's road trip to Canada, starting Tuesday in his hometown of Toronto.
"I just want to play," Stamkos said. "Of course it's a bigger story because there's a deadline. If there wasn't, I'm sure we wouldn't be having as many conversations as we are. Usually when you're hurt you come back whenever you feel ready. We are pushing it a little because of the magnitude of the Olympics and me wanting to come back and paly before. That's an ideal situation. If it doesn't happen, then that's something the management staff of Team Canada and I are going to have to chat about whether or not it's in the best interest of me or the team to go over there. We haven't had that discussion yet. We're still planning on hopefully being able to play before the Olympic break. That's where the mindset is right now."
Stamkos said he can usually tell in the first few steps he takes when he gets out of bed what kind of day he's going to have.
"Hopefully,' Stamkos said. "Tomorrow is a good day."
Developing: Lightning star Steven Stamkos did not practice Monday, with the team saying it was an "off-ice rehab day."
It was still a curious absence for Stamkos, who is rehabbing from a broken right tibia. Stamkos has been making a speedy recovery, skating often with the team during practices. He even advanced to a yellow non contact jersey Saturday.
Stamkos came out 15 minutes before practice today in full gear and an orange jersey, skated for a minute and then came off the ice.
Stamkos wasn't available to the media after his last skate Saturday. Hope to have an update after practice today before Lightning leaves for four game road trip.
Stamkos had said his goal was to play in one of the home games next week before the Olympic break. But coach Jon Cooper said Saturday he was "a ways away" from being cleared and needed to test himself by battling in practice.
Cooper had said it'd be interesting to see how Stamkos responded to an energized skate today. But Stamkos isn't out there.