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Lightning’s Stamkos not cleared for game play, no Olympics

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After undergoing a CT scan (three-dimensional view) of the tibia on Wednesday afternoon, it was determined by Bolts Medical Director Dr. Ira Gutentag that he would be unable to clear Steven Stamkos for game play and that he would be unable to play for Team Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.

Lightning Vice President and GM Steve Yzerman made the announcement after conferring with Dr. Gutentag who stated that tibia was not completely healed and that Stamkos should not be participating in game action at any time in the near future.

Stamkos will continue his rehab and be evaluated again in two or three weeks, according to the team.

Yzerman acknowledged that Dr. Gutentag was pleased with Stamkos’ healing process, but the callus around the fracture site was not 100 percent consolidated and that Stamkos would not be cleared for game action until it is. Yzerman went on to say that it was a pretty clear cut decision, no gray areas at all.

During the Bolts morning skate on Tuesday, prior to their game against the Minnesota Wild later that night, Stamkos participated in drills, which included battle drills along the boards with his teammates. There were no issues or any unexpected pain in his leg.

Stamkos was hoping for medical clearance and had targeted a return to the lineup on Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings, the last game before the Olympic break.

I can’t see anything being a problem,’’ Stamkos said, “but you just want to get that clearance knowing that everything is OK and looking forward to hopefully hearing good news and getting ready for a game.’’

“Today is obviously very disappointing for me,” Stamkos said in the release. “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 sustained the injury on November 11 in Boston and underwent surgery to place a titanium rod in his tibia. It was uncertain even then if Stamkos would be cleared to play in time, but his recovery progressed rapidly; unfortunately not fast enough for the Bolts or Team Canada.

Team Canada must now make a choice for his replacement for the Olympic Games, which opens up the door for teammate Martin St. Louis. However, Philadelphia forward Claude Giroux, Pittsburgh's James Neal and Carolina's Eric Staal are among the other possible candidates.

For more info: Tampa Bay Lightning, Steven Stamkos

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