Prolific Canadian goal scorer Steven Stamkos will miss the Sochi Olympics because his broken leg has not healed, depriving the defending ice hockey champions of one of their best players.
A scan revealed Stamkos's fractured right tibia had not healed sufficiently for him to play, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the player's National Hockey League team, said on Wednesday.
"Today is obviously very disappointing for me," the Lightning center said in a statement released by the team.
"I honestly believe that we did everything possible in order to have my injured leg ready in time for the Olympics, but I realize you can't force healing.
"I know, in the best interest of my long term health, I cannot represent Canada in Sochi, as much as I would like to."
Stamkos fractured his tibia during a game against the Boston Bruins in November, causing him to miss 39 regular season games.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Gene Cherry and Ian Ransom)