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Steven Stamkos of Lightning progressing after surgery

Forward does drills before morning skate, no timeline for return from knee injury

by Corey Long / NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- Forward Steven Stamkos took another step in his recovery from knee surgery when he skated Tuesday in full equipment before the morning skate with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Stamkos did skating and shooting drills and took some one-timers with assistant coach Brad Lauer. The Lightning captain had been skating on his own as he works to recover from surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee.

"He's progressing well," general manager Steve Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times. "He's doing well, but [we] can't give a return date yet."

Yzerman said a return by Stamkos this season hasn't been ruled out. The Lightning were 10-6-1 with Stamkos and are 16-18-7 since the injury entering their game against the Edmonton Oilers at Amalie Arena (7:30 p.m. ET; SUN, SNW, NHL.TV).

Stamkos hasn't played since he was injured in a game against the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 15. He had arthroscopic surgery, and the Lightning said his return would take four months or longer.

Coach Jon Cooper did not speak about Stamkos' practice Tuesday but told the Tampa Bay Times last week that his absence has created a "major trickle-down effect" on and off the ice.

"He's a big right-handed shot on the power play, he's our captain, he's our leader," Cooper said. "Throw Ryan [Callahan] into the mix, and you're pulling a lot out of the room. It's not just his ability to score. It's all the other things that has a trickle-down effect."

Callahan has a hip injury and the forward hasn't played since Jan. 7.

Stamkos was tied for second in the NHL with 20 points when the injury occurred. He signed an eight-year, $68 million contract with the Lightning on June 29.

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