TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos is walking without crutches or a boot two weeks after breaking his right leg and said Monday he fully expects to play again this season.
The high-scoring centre was injured Nov. 11 against Boston. He was taken off the ice on a stretcher after crashing into the post. He had surgery the next day in Boston to stabilize a fractured shin bone and is now walking with a limp.
"To be able to do what I'm doing now and almost comeback to a normal life, being able to just move around on your own, I'm definitely happy with that," said Stamkos, speaking with reporters for the first time since the injury. "I'd say I've overcome the initial shock and frustration and disappointment, and now it's what do I have to do to get back as quick as possible. But obviously as smart as possible."
Stamkos was hurt with 7:11 remaining in the second period. He was backchecking on a play when he got tied up with Bruins defenceman Dougie Hamilton. The pair went into the net hard.
Speaking to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman talked about the prognosis for his superstar forward.
"It's early, but our initial impression is that we're encouraged he'll be back on the shorter end of the recovery time period -- which is very broad -- but it looks initially that he'll be back on the sooner rather than later end of that three-to-six months recovery period," said Yzerman.
Yzerman, of course, is also the general manager of Team Canada for the Sochi Olympics. But he says that Stamkos' timeline goal is the same regardless of whether the uniform he wears is blue or red.
"It's one in the same, we want a healthy Stammer," Yzerman said. "And not just for this year, but for a long time to come. The No. 1 underlining factor is that we're going to make sure we do what's best for Steven's long-term health. He's 23 years old. He's got a long career ahead of him. We're not going to do anything that jeopardizes him. He's not coming back before he's 100 percent ready."
Stamkos has 222 goals and 409 points in 390 NHL games.