Steven Stamkos takes another step, joins Lightning for pregame skate

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

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Steven Stamkos' recovery from a broken leg he suffered in a Nov. 11 game in Boston continues to move along at a rapid pace. On Thursday he took another step in that recovery when he joined his Lightning teammates in a pregame skate, his first full practice with the team since his injury.

When Stamkos initially suffered a broken tibia when he crashed into the cage, the Lightning star forward was feared to be out for possibly the entire season. The timeframe was listed as 3-6 months with most expectations it would be closer to the six months.

Instead, Stamkos has looked like some kind of genetically engineered hockey player (that would explain his awesome shot) that can recover in double time, taking the ice a few weeks back.

While he took part in the skate, he's still not ready to return yet. He's still taking baby steps.

"[Thursday] was great," he said (via NHL.com). "This is the first time I was in for the full skate. Another step in the right direction. It was positive mental-wise, too. It was great to be out there and hopefully it continues to get better like it has. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel."

This surely is exctiting news for Lightning fans, who see their team tied atop the Atlantic Division with Boston right now, but just as much so for fans of Team Canada. Stamkos was named to the Olympic team with the hope that he might be able to return in time for the Games. Those start Feb. 13 in Sochi, Russia, so he still has time to get ready. At this rate, he should be there wearing red.

Despite playing only 17 games this season before his injury, Stamkos is third on the Lightning in goals with 14 and his 23 points are tied for seventh most. Needless to say he's a pretty important part of the team.

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