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Lightning’s Steven Stamkos had knee surgery before playoffs

Tampa Bay’s captain felt good enough to play last postseason. Little did we know he had knee surgery beforehand.
Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) keeps an eye on the puck during a preseason game against the Nashville Predators Thursday at Amalie Arena.
Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) keeps an eye on the puck during a preseason game against the Nashville Predators Thursday at Amalie Arena. [ CHRIS URSO | Times ]
Published Oct. 4, 2021

ORLANDO — Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said Monday that he had minor surgery on his right knee before returning to the ice for last season’s Stanley Cup run.

Stamkos missed the final 16 games of the regular season following a lower-body injury he suffered April 8 at Columbus. He returned for all 23 of the Lightning’s playoff games and was third on the team in postseason points (eight goals, 10 assists).

Stamkos indicated during the playoffs that he was hurting, saying only that he was good enough to play when asked how he was doing physically.

The 31-year-old said at the beginning of training camp that he feels healthy again, and his camp has shown that.

“The way things went towards the end of the year and having a little surgery before the playoffs and coming back and feeling probably not as well as I wanted to but good enough to play and contribute,” Stamkos said. “That’s where I’m just comparing it to how I ended off the season to how I’m feeling now, and definitely in a much better place than I was.

“It’s just constant work. You put in the work in the gym and on the ice, and the body will respond. So it’s been good so far.”

Stamkos played just 17 games during the 2016-17 season before his campaign ended due to a right meniscus tear.

He was one of several Lightning players who grinded through injuries during the 2021 postseason to stay on the ice and help the team win a Stanley Cup.

Defenseman Victor Hedman played three months with a meniscus injury. Nikita Kucherov finished the postseason wearing a protective flap jacket and getting injections to allow him to play with a broken rib. Forward Alex Killorn tried to come back after suffering a broken leg blocking a shot in Game 1 of the final. He had a metal rod placed in his leg with the hope of returning in the final, but the series ended in five games.

“(Stamkos) is feeling good, he’s obviously a guy who puts so much work into being healthy and making sure he’s ready,” KIllorn said. “So I’m hoping for him all the best.”

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