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Lightning’s Alex Killorn details ‘stressful’ days trying to return for Stanley Cup final

The forward, who broke a leg during the Cup final, expects to be 100 percent by Tampa Bay’s season opener.
Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) celebrates his goal during the second period of Game 5 of the semifinal series against the Islanders in June at Amalie Arena.
Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) celebrates his goal during the second period of Game 5 of the semifinal series against the Islanders in June at Amalie Arena. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Sep. 22

TAMPA — He’s still in the final stages of rehabbing the broken leg he suffered during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final, but Lightning forward Alex Killorn expects to be 100 percent by Tampa Bay’s season opener on Oct. 12.

Killorn has had nearly three months to recover since shattering his left fibula while blocking a shot by the Canadiens’ Jeff Petry on June 28. But it wasn’t long ago Killorn faced a race against time trying to get back during the Cup final.

During the Lightning’s media day Wednesday, Killorn detailed the consultation process he went through with doctors in deciding to insert a steel rod into his left leg with the hope of returning to the ice. He tested his leg at the morning skate before Game 4, just four days before having surgery. The Lightning won the final in five games, but Killorn said he would have been able to play in Game 7 or possibly even Game 6.

“Just kind of stressful in regards to getting the surgery or not and then picking the device that was going to help me play,” he said. “So I think we took two days to figure it out, and I think I made the best decision I could have.

“There’s different devices they can put in your fibula and the different surgeons have different devices. They’re affiliated with different companies, and they all say that one can do something better than the other.”

Lightning left wing Alex Killorn,  throws back a faux trophy toward fans gathered at Curtis Hixon Park along the Hillsborough River during the Stanley Cup Champions Boat Parade in July in Tampa.
Lightning left wing Alex Killorn, throws back a faux trophy toward fans gathered at Curtis Hixon Park along the Hillsborough River during the Stanley Cup Champions Boat Parade in July in Tampa. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]

Killorn said his leg felt its best before Game 4 — he received an injection for the first time before skating — but the shot caused extra swelling in his leg.

“During the parade and through then, that was kind of a time to relax it,” he said. But I found the more I used it, the more I leaned into it, even if it was painful, it actually made it better. So you just have to kind of activate those muscles and it’s pretty painful at first.

“But the more you use it and put it in difficult positions, it actually strengthens it and turns on all the muscles and and tissues surrounding the bone. The more I’ve been using it, the better it’s been getting, and every week it’s gotten better.”

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