‘Highly unlikely’ Steven Stamkos returns in the regular season

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Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos has been back skating with the Lightning and joined them in a full practice for the first time on Friday, which seemed to indicate an imminent return.

The Lightning could sure use him as they currently sit outside the playoffs and in a tight race with the New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Speaking on Hockey Night in Canada’s Headlines segment Saturday night, Nick Kypreos said that despite Stamkos’ progression, it’s still a long shot he’ll play for the Lightning again in the regular season.

“Steven Stamkos was on the ice today, spoke after to the media, talked about not feeling 100 per cent and not setting any type of schedule in terms of anything definitive,” Kypreos said. “It’s great that he’s out there, it’s great that it looks like he’s getting closer, but in reality I really think it’s highly unlikely that he’ll see a game in the regular season.”

The 27-year-old had nine goals and 20 points in 17 games this season before tearing his lateral meniscus on Nov. 15. Two days later he had surgery and has been out ever since.

The initial timeline for Stamkos was four months, but that has since passed.

“I’m told that there are a few medical people close to the situation that suggested he’d be out six months,” Kypreos said. “If that’s the case, his season certainly would be done.”

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