Tampa, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning and center Steven Stamkos, who is nearly recovered from a broken leg suffered in early November, issued joint statements on Wednesday which revealed that he will not play in the upcoming Sochi Olympics.
"After reviewing the CT scan this afternoon, Dr. Gutentag made it clear to me and to Steven that the tibia is not completely healed and therefore he should not be participating in game action at any time in the near future," Bolts GM Steve Yzerman said. "Although the doctor was very pleased to this point with the healing process, he explained that the callus surrounding the fracture site is not 100 percent consolidated, and Steven will not be cleared to play in a game until that happens. It was a pretty clear cut decision, no gray areas at all."
Stamkos, who was expected to make an impact on Team Canada's front lines, suffered a fractured tibia while backchecking on a play during the second period of a 3-0 loss to the Bruins in Boston on Nov. 11. He was entangled with Boston defenseman Dougie Hamilton and fell to the ice while sliding feet-first before his lower right leg slammed into the right post, forcing the net off its moorings and the leg to bend awkwardly at the contact point.
The 23-year-old was tied for the NHL lead in goals (14) and points (23) before the setback. He has missed the last 39 games while recovering.
"Today is obviously very disappointing for me," Stamkos said. "I honestly believe that we did everything possible in order to have my injured leg ready in time for the Olympics, but I realize you can't force healing. I know, in the best interest of my long term health, I cannot represent Canada in Sochi, as much as I would like to. I would like to thank the training staff for their dedication and hard work and I look forward to returning to the Lightning once cleared by the medical team."
Stamkos will continue to rehabilitate and is expected to be re-evaluated in 2- to-3 weeks. The Lightning have two more games on the docket (Toronto, Detroit) before the NHL's break, and resumes play on Feb. 27 at Nashville.