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Lightning's Mattias Ohlund not retiring, but unsure if he can return from knee surgeries

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com
Ohlund came to Tampa after 11 seasons in Vancouver. (Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund missed the entire 2011-12 season with knee issues. At 35, his knees have racked up a lot of miles and they aren't holding up as well these days.

Not only was last season lost due to the injury, but his career might go the same way.

According to Expressen in Sweden, Ohlund said that he has another half a year of recovery after a recent surgery on his knees -- and even then he's not sure if that will be enough time to continue his career.

Thanks to Google translation, this story is at least readable to get the details of what's going on. This quote from Ohlund came out pretty clear, describing the nature of the problems he's going through.

"I've got a titanium plate inserted, and a piece of plastic, which lies against one another so that there is bone on bone," Ohlund said -- again, roughly translated. "The doctors can not guarantee that it holds for the hockey game at top level, but my goal is to come back and play again."

This is of strong interest to the Lightning, who have Ohlund signed for another four seasons at $3.607 million per year against the salary cap. Because he signed the contract before turning 35, the money of the deal would still be paid to Ohlund but there would be no hit against the cap if he had to retire due to the injury.

That's the good news out of the possible career-ending scenario for the Lightning in Ohlund's case. Especially for a team that has had as many problems as they have on the blue line, having a guy like Ohlund out isn't the best news. But the other side is that it would free up a good chunk of change for them to try to find some help in free agency or through trade.

Of course, it's hard to read that far into it because Ohlund isn't retiring yet. In the story he says he's not giving up on a return to the NHL yet, but it seems like a possibility that he might not be able to.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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