TAMPA — Steven Stamkos doesn’t get injured often, but when he does, it’s a doozy.
The six to eight weeks the Lightning forward is expected to miss after abdominal surgery, announced Saturday, will be the fourth time he has missed substantial time in his career.
In his 12-year career, Stamkos has played six full seasons and two in which he missed three and four games. And yet, he has missed a total of 139 games and counting.
“You feel horrible for him, for the amount of games he’s lost,” Alex Killorn said. “Credit to him, he’s always come back strong.”
Here are his other significant injuries:
Time missed: Nov. 12, 2013, to March 6, 2014, 46 games
Iron goal post and human legs do not mix. Stamkos fell into the goal post during a game in Boston and broke his tibia. He was stretchered off the ice and underwent surgery the next day.
Even though Stamkos was seen walking without a boot or crutches a couple of weeks later, full recovery took almost four months.
It’s hard to say what kind of pace the Lightning was on that year, given the injury happening so early, but the expectations weren’t especially high that year. They made the playoffs for the first time in three years and lost in the first round.
Time missed: March 31 to May 26, 2016, 21 games
Stamkos played most of the 2015-16 season. He missed a practice late in the year for what the Lightning called a body maintenance day. The next day they announced that he had thoracic outlet syndrome and would have surgery for a blood clot near his right collarbone.
The Lightning blew through their first two playoff series, not missing a step without Stamkos.
His potential time line for recovery was three months. He returned after two months, just in time for the Lightning to be eliminated in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final against the Penguins.
Time missed: Nov. 16, 2016, for rest of season, 65 games
Stamkos lost his footing in a game against the Red Wings and went down. The fall looked more awkward than painful, but he limped heavily down the tunnel and did not play again that season. He had surgery for a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee.
That is the injury that has lingered. Joints are hard to get back to 100 percent. Last season Stamkos said he has a new normal: Some days the knee hurts getting out of bed, and others it’s fine.
The Lightning went into that season as one of the Stanley Cup favorites. Stamkos’ was one of many injuries that year. At one point the list included nine starters. The Lightning did not make the playoffs.