Steven Stamkos Illness: Updates on Lightning Star's Recovery from Blood Clot

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured Columnist

Oct 12, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrates his goal against the Boston Bruins during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos had been suffering from a blood clot that required surgery. However, he is ready to return. 

Continue for updates.

Stamkos Active vs. Penguins for Game 7

Thursday, May 26

Stamkos was available to play on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, according to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports. Stamkos' surgeon, Karl Illig, said the risks are "very, very low" and believes Stamkos is "doing the right thing," according to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times

Latest on Stamkos' Practice Status

Wednesday, May 18

Michelle Gingras of the Lightning's official website reported Stamkos was not present at Wednesday's morning skate.

Stamkos Comments on Treatment

Monday, May 16

Stamkos told reporters he hasn't changed blood-thinning medications after Rob Longley reported the Lightning star was "exploring different blood thinner meds that could allow him to return to action sooner."

“There’s different ways around it when it comes to that,” Stamkos said on Sunday, regarding the blood thinners he's been on to get back on the ice, via Chris Johnston of sportsnet.ca. “There’s different options that we’ve explored. There’s injectable blood-thinning medication that I’m on right now.

“There have been guys that have played in this league who are on it.”

Stamkos, Surgeon Comment on Blood Clot, Recovery

Thursday, April 28

When asked for a timetable for his return, Stamkos told reporters, "It could be weeks. It could be months. That's the tough part."

Illig performed the surgery to remove the clot. Dr. Dean Donahue, a vascular surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital in Bostondiscussed when the star center could return, per ESPN.com's Joe McDonald:

The typical return for an athlete to full participation is about three months, as a general rule. Now, without going into specifics, I've been involved in [treating] players on a [Boston] team who were involved in a late-season, championship-level performance and wanted to bend the rules of what we would normally do and were willing to understand the risks they were taking. They wouldn't have done anything life-threatening but were willing to bend the rules a little bit.

Hockey players are different than every other athlete I've ever dealt with, so I wouldn't say it's mandatory [Stamkos] would miss three months. But that's certainly the standard approach for this operation. 

Stamkos Discusses Recovery Timeline, Circumstances of Clot

Tuesday, April 26 

Following practice on April 26, Stamkos told reporters he was "feeling really good" but added that there was no change in the timeline for his return, calling it a "waiting game."

As for the clot that caused his absence, Stamkos said he had symptoms where his "arm felt heavy and was swelling." At that point, the Lightning star said he realized it "could be [a] problem." Stamkos also lamented the timing, saying he thought he was playing his "best hockey down the stretch."

Stamkos Undergoes Surgery

Monday, April 4

The Lightning announced Stamkos underwent a successful two-hour procedure, noting that the center "is expected to fully recover."

"Everything went as expected for Steven today," Dr. Illig said, via the release. "We plan to re-evaluate him in about two weeks and we should know more about his prognosis at that time."

Stamkos Potentially Out for Playoffs

Monday, April 4

Smith reported the timetable for Stamkos' return is one to three months. The Tampa Bay Times' Greg Auman reported general manager Steve Yzerman doesn't believe the blood clot will affect Stamkos beyond the remainder of the season.

Stamkos Is Vital for Lightning's Postseason Hopes

Stamkos has been durable for the Lightning since making his debut in 2008, with one notable exception: The two-time Maurice Richard Trophy winner was limited to 37 appearances during the 2013-14 season after suffering a broken right tibia.

A year removed from the devastating injury, Stamkos rebounded and appeared in all 82 games. During that stretch, the former No. 1 overall pick scored 43 goals and tallied 29 assists as the Lightning made a run to the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.

So far this season, Stamkos has notched 36 goals and 28 assists while posting a plus-three rating.

The defending Eastern Conference champions have plenty of weapons at their disposal, but Stamkos is a special talent.


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