USATSI_9680034_154158418_lowresTampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is out indefinitely after tearing his lateral meniscus in his right knee. The injury took place on Tuesday night as his team faced off against the Detroit Red Wings.

Stamkos left the game in the first period after falling awkwardly against the boards. He couldn’t put any pressure on his right leg as he skated off the ice and it certainly didn’t look good.

“We are in the process of evaluating options for repair and rehabilitation,” Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said.

Stamkos is off to a rip-roaring start this season with 20 points in 17 games, including nine goals. Three of his goals have come on the power play.

But injuries have been a factor throughout Stamkos’ career.

In November of 2013, he broke his right tibia and missed 45 games. A blood clot kept him out of all but one game during Tampa’s 2016 Eastern Conference Final run.

Stamkos had just re-signed with the Lightning in June of 2016, inking an eight-year contract worth $68 million. There was word that he would test free agency and even some suggestion that he would become a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but things settled down in Tampa and he wound up staying put.

It’s hard to say what comes next, but this obviously isn’t good news for the Lightning.

The team is 10-6-1, good for third in the Atlantic Division, but timing has never been on their side with Stamkos. They luckily have enough roster depth to weather the storm and have seen excellent production from leading scorer Nikita Kucherov, who has 21 points in 16 games and could really shine in the captain’s absence.

Tampa plays the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

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