TAMPA, Fla. — Steven Stamkos will not play for Team Canada at the Sochi Olympics after tests revealed Wednesday that his broken right leg is not completely healed.
Tampa Bay Lightning doctors said they couldn’t clear him to play after examining his most recent CT scan and will re-evaluate his condition again in two to three weeks. It’s a big blow for the 23-year-old, who had been optimistic earlier this week that he might be able to play by as soon as Saturday.
“Today is obviously very disappointing for me,” Stamkos said. “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.”
Stamkos will further address the media in person Thursday.
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, who is also Team Canada’s executive director, said Stamkos “should not be participating in game action at any time in the near future.”
“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 per cent consolidated, and Steven will not be cleared to play in a game until that happens,” said Yzerman. “It was a pretty clear-cut decision, no grey areas at all.”
Hockey Canada did not immediately announce a replacement for Stamkos.