PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 12: Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on January 12, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Lightning 7-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

On Sunday we learned Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was going to head to surgery for a blood clot issue. Now it looks like that surgery will cost the veteran NHL scorer a rib.

According to a report from Frank Seravalli of TSN, surgeons will likely remove a top rib from Stamkos on the right side of his body to help address the blood clot issue.

“It isn’t a rib like you’d think of, it is much smaller, more like the size of an index finger,” explained Dr. Thomas Forbes to Seravalli. The doctor told Seravalli the removal of the top right rib helps increase the blood flow to the vein once removed, but a time table for Stamkos’ return to the ice remains a bit of a mystery. It was originally reported Stamkos will be out of action for one to three months, and that still appears to be the case. Narrowing down the window for a return is impossible at this point and all depends on how well Stamkos responds to the surgery and appropriate rehab.

The biggest question remains whether or not the Lightning will still be playing when the captain is given the green light to get back on the ice.

“Normal recovery for range of motion and exercise would be about one month from just the surgery alone,” Dr. Forbes said, per Seravalli. “Doctors would then recommend some period of time on blood thinners, perhaps one month, which also complicates the timeline.”

For now, Stamkos will just have to do what he needs to do and hope the Lightning do what they can to keep the season going as long as possible. Stamkos is due to hit free agency this offseason, so if the Lightning take an early exit from the Staley Cup Playoffs, he could very well have played his final game in Tampa.


About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Previously contributed to Host of the Locked On Nittany Lions Podcast. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.