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Steven Stamkos says a 'real possibility' he doesn't play

After two days without skating, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was back on the ice for Thursday's practice.

Stamkos (blood clot) is still in a"holding pattern," saying his status hasn't changed, admitting there's just a 5-percent chance he plays in Friday's Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final.

While no decision has been made, Stamkos, 26, says there's a "real possibility" he doesn't play at all in these playoffs. It just might not be worth the risk to his long-term health, his life.

"I don't think in this situation you're going to get 100-percent green light, or 100 percent red light," Stamkos said. "That's just the way it is. It's just something that hasn't been studied, hasn't been a lot of data on coming back from something like this. The more opinions you get, the more information you gather, sometimes the more confusing it gets. For me, I always try to gather as much information with my family, my agents, and friends, the team, and just put it all together. And obviously we don't have all the information right now, so I can't exactly say when that decision has to be made."

Stamkos said there's no set doctor appointment or deadline for the final decision. With no clinical studies or data to support him coming back, whether that's getting off blood thinners or using a different regimen, it's about "risk management."

"First and foremost, is my health and safety," he said. "Obviously I'm a professional hockey p layer, but there are things you have to definitely consider other than hockey. It's tough especially when you're in the moment right now, it's easier said than done. If you're not in the playoffs right now and just doing your normal protocol and we're not thinking about it."

Stamkos can get all the opinions he wants. But if he won't be getting a 100-percent green or red light from doctors, it'd be up to him to risk his health, which he says is most important. He's still in the middle of the 1-3 month recovery period since April 4 surgery.

Stamkos, who is due a hefty payday as an unrestricted free agent this summer, has a lot to think about.

"Obviously when you're talking about something, the severity of the surgery and procedure, you're going to err on the side of caution for the most part. Everything is progressing well, tests I've had since day one all look great. That's all I can continue to look for is progress, and the guys to keep winning."

[Last modified: Thursday, May 19, 2016 3:53pm]


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