Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos horrifically broke his tibia against the Boston Bruins on Nov. 11, which raised questions about his ability to return to play this season. Two weeks later, Stamkos walked into a press conference without the aide of crutches or a walking boot.
Amazing photo of Steven Stamkos walking without crutches at today's Lightning news conference. pic.twitter.com/dU17cvthr2— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) November 25, 2013
Yes, the comparisons to Chuck Norris and Wolverine were abound on Monday morning as hope returned that Stamkos would be able to participate in the 2014 Olympics. Amazingly, he was already wearing skates.
Stamkos sustained a clean break, which resulted in a metal rod being inserted into his leg. He stated he has been able to walk on it for the past two days. In terms of the collision that resulted in the injury, Stamkos believes it was a hockey play and received a text message from Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, as well as a visit from head coach Claude Julien (an associate coach for Team Canada).
Stamkos' goal is to play in a few games for Tampa Bay before the Olympics, but expressed that he won't rush anything. Lightning manager Steve Yzerman is also the head man for Team Canada, so a conflict of interest shouldn't put Stamkos in harm's way. The last thing Yzerman can afford is rushing back his franchise's star player at the risk of a more serious injury or setback.
Stamkos works with renowned trainer Gary Roberts, who stated in an interview with Sportnet's Hockey Central at Noon shortly after the incident that he had already been in contact with the player discussing alternate workout routines to work around his injured leg. So, Superman Stamkos will be as prepared as superhumanly possible when the times comes to return.