Lightning’s Steven Stamkos questionable for Saturday’s game

TAMPA — Steven Stamkos’ injury status remained uncertain Friday, a day after he skated off the ice in obvious pain during Thursday’s game against the Blue Jackets in Columbus.

But in the short term, he appears unlikely to play in the Lightning’s next game Saturday in Nashville.

Stamkos did not participate in Tampa Bay’s full practice on Friday afternoon in Nashville. During his post-practice media availability, Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said only that Stamkos was being evaluated.

“I will hopefully have something (Saturday),” Cooper said. “I would sit here and say he is questionable for tomorrow’s game though.”

Asked whether he believed Stamkos’ injury is connected to the core muscle issues that sidelined him for the end of last season and most of the Lightning’s Stanley Cup run, Cooper said it was too early to speculate.

“I’m the hockey coach, not the doctor,” he said.

Stamkos skated off the ice in the third period of Thursday’s 6-4 win over Columbus and didn’t return. Before departing, he reached out to corral a puck, spun toward the boards and backhanded the puck up ice. He then hunched over in clear discomfort and leaned back against the board for a few seconds before slowly skating off.

There was no contact on the play.

Stamkos, 31, has been one of the Lightning’s most durable players this season. He has played in 38 of their 40 regular-season games, missing two in mid-February while in…

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