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'95 percent chance' Stamkos won't play Game 4

Lightning center admits possibility of not returning for playoffs

by @NHL /

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos did not completely rule himself out of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final, but said there's a "95 percent chance he won't play" against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Stamkos practiced Thursday but said nothing has changed regarding his condition. He has been out since having surgery to remove a blood clot near his right collarbone April 4.

"No [update], nothing has changed," Stamkos said. "There's been no more set doctor's date where we were going to go and a decision was going to be made. There was nothing ever in the works for that. So can't update anything; it's still kind of that holding pattern. I am going to continue to work hard and hope the guys keep winning."

He said there's a chance he may not return during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I'm hoping to [return] but there's still a real possibility that I may not play at all in the playoffs," he said. "It's tough when you have so few different parts of the spectrum. It's either you're going to be able to play or it's not safe to play. We still haven't come to that decision yet and it's going to take a lot of information gathering. I don't know when that decision is going to be made for sure to either rule in or rule out.

"The thing with this situation is there's no data out there to support whether coming back earlier than the initial prognosis is safe or not, if there's elevated risks or not. You have to do your best to gather as much information, as many opinions, gather as much information as possible so you're well-educated on the risks of coming back, or if it's even worth the risk."

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