TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos will not play for Canada in the Sochi Olympics.
Steve Yzerman, the Lightning's general manager and Team Canada's executive director, said Wednesday that doctors ruled out Stamkos because he hasn't recovered sufficiently from a broken right leg.
Stamkos underwent a CT scan and met with team officials Wednesday. He was injured Nov. 11 and had surgery to have a titanium rod inserted into the tibia.
"Today is obviously very disappointing for me," Stamkos said in a statement. "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 look forward to returning to the Lightning once cleared by the medical team."
The center will be evaluated again in two to three weeks.
"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," Yzerman said. "It was a pretty clear cut decision, no gray areas at all."
Stamkos has been practicing with the team and hoped to play Saturday night against Detroit, which is Tampa Bay's final game before the Olympic break. He had increased contact drills during practice this week.
In 17 games this season, he has 14 goals and nine assists.