Steven Stamkos returning to the Tampa Bay Lightning lineup
Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos walks down the hallway as he arrives for a news conference Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. Even with the benefit of a later deadline, Team Canada general manager Steve Yzerman and his staff have less than a month to decide on their roster for the Sochi Olympics. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/The Tampa Bay Times, Dirk Shadd)
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, March 5, 2014 10:20AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 2:31PM EST
TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos has been cleared to play after being sidelined since November by a broken right shin.
The team announced Wednesday that Stamkos will return to the lineup Thursday night at home against Buffalo. He was injured on Nov. 11 at Boston.
Stamkos, who has 14 goals and 23 points in 17 games this season, called it an "exciting day for me."
"Adversity is a good test and you're going to have to go through it in your career, so you hope it makes you a better player and a better person," Stamkos said. "I have a new perspective on my career as a professional athlete and how hard you have to work to maintain that."
The broken right shin also kept the high-scoring forward from playing for Canada in the Sochi Olympics. He was replaced on the Olympic roster by Martin St. Louis, who was traded Wednesday to the New York Rangers.
The NHL season resumed last week. Stamkos was cleared to play after X-rays Wednesday showed his leg has healed.
"Steven saw Lightning medical director Dr. Ira Guttentag and based on the latest X-ray, a clinical exam and his functionality on and off the ice we are pleased to announce he is cleared to play." Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said in a statement.