Stamkos on reported Feb. 6 return: 'It's impossible to tell'

Asked if he is targeting a specific date for a return, Steven Stamkos, pictured during a news conference last month, on Wednesday would not say.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Asked if he is targeting a specific date for a return, Steven Stamkos, pictured during a news conference last month, on Wednesday would not say.

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December

Is Lightning star Steven Stamkos targeting a Feb. 6 return from the broken right tibia he sustained Nov. 11 at Boston? That was the report this week from Darren Dreger of Canada's TSN.

Asked if he is targeting a specific date for a return, Stamkos on Wednesday would not say but offered this: "It’s impossible to tell, really. I mentioned in my press conference I’d love to come back and play a couple games and be able to play in the Olympics. That’s my goal. You have to have a goal and you work towards your goal." 

If Stamkos does return by Feb. 6, he could play two games for the Lightning before the Olympic break. On playing for Canada at the Sochi Olympics, he said it won't happen "unless I am 100 percent." 

Stamkos, in sneakers and standing on a piece of wood for traction, shot pucks on the Tampa Bay Times Forum ice on Wednesday.

"I just wanted to get a fee for the stick. I miss it after a while," he said, and added, "I feel good considering what's happened and the timeframe it's been. It' encouraging."

Here is more from Stamkos:

On going stir crazy: I think that happened the moment I knew I’d be out a while. That’s the toughest part, watching the games, knowing you can’t really do anything, especially in the tough stretch we’re in right now where we’re struggling offensively. That’s tough to watch. I still have a long road ahead of me and just trying to get better daily.

On how his workouts are going: It’s just kind of waking up every day and feeling a little better, a little more confident. Mentally, I think, it’s more of a challenge just knowing that it has only been three weeks but you’re starting to explore and try some things; in the pool, underwater treadmill, stuff like that, where it’s feeling good. For me this is new territory; just trying to take it in as daily as I can.

On perhaps being ahead of schedule: That’s the magic question, who knows? I’ve never dealt with an injury like this before. A perfect example is looking at (Tom Pyatt), they say eight weeks, eight weeks comes, he’s worked extremely hard, no setbacks and the (collarbone) just hasn’t healed as well as they wanted it to. That’s why there is no timetable. You can set goals you can hope to be back by certain dates. It’s all up to how fast that bone is healing. That’s why it’s a little tricky.

On the reaction to walking into his first news conference: Yeah, I mean everyone was surprised. I was surprised I was walking but I think when you actually take a step back and realize the procedure that I had and what was actually done that it shouldn’t come to as much of a shock as it did. That titanium rod that’s in there is stability for my leg the minute they stitched me up and finished the surgery. If I could, you could have walked on it and put pressure on it immediately after. That’s why I mentioned that it was more of a mental thing, just trusting that thing, seeing your bone before and seeing it in half and then having that rod in there and now you can put as much weight as you can bear on it, so it shouldn’t come as big of a shock as it did. It was definitely cool seeing the reactions.

On the report by Canada's TSN that he is targeting a Feb. 6 return: Again, it’s impossible to tell, really. I mentioned in my press conference I’d love to come back and play a couple games and be able to play in the Olympics. That’s my goal. You have to have a goal and you work towards your goal. But, again, it’s up, really, to the bone. You have no say in that in getting clearance just to skate or to have contact and be cleared to play. If the bone is fully healed, for some people it’s less time, for some people it’s more. That’s why we can’t have the guessing games of when I can be back. If everything goes well and the bone heals the way it’s supposed to I’d love top be back then but we won’t know until that point.

On playing in the Olympics: I won’t be playing in the Olympics if I’m not 100 percent. That’s something I’ve said since Day 1. At the end of the day you have to look at the long-term health and look at the team here in Tampa that I want to help win a championship with, and if I’m not 100percent I won’t be playing. I wouldn’t expect them to even take me if I wasn’t 100 percent, especially at a caliber tournament like that.

On his rehab: It’s a little bit of a Groundhog Day. The first two weeks you’re excited, you’re coming to the rink, you’re seeing a lot of progression now, you’re walking around, you’re stable, you’re fine. Now it’s just kind of a daily thing when we’re doing a lot of the same exercises and stuff. It gets tough coming to the rink and not being able to go on the ice. As much as it hurts me to say this, you miss practicing and you miss skating and you miss those days where it’s a tough practice. When you don’t have an injury you don’t think about it that way. Now that I’ve gone though this you definitely have a different outlook. You should just be happy and blessed you are out there being able to do what you love to do. It’s the old saying, ‘You don’t know what you have till it’s gone. I think I’ve gotten to that stage now. You have to remind yourself it’s going to be a long road. You just have to work hard and keep focused and do what you can.

On watching every Lightning game on TV: Oh, yeah. That’s probably the toughest part is watching it and knowing you can’t do anything to help out your team and help them win. That’s frustrating, for sure.

[Last modified: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 4:54pm]

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