TAMPA — Ryan Callahan's season is likely over.
But the good news for the Lightning wing is it doesn't sound like his nagging hip injury is career-threatening.
After having surgery in the offseason, Callahan, 31, had a followup procedure on his right hip Tuesday in New York, and general manager Steve Yzerman said he didn't expect Callahan back during the regular season.
If Tampa Bay makes the playoffs, a Callahan return could depend on how far the team advances.
"Has been a tough year but I'm 1 day closer to getting back on the ice with the boyzzz!!!" Callahan posted on Twitter on Wednesday.
It has been a frustrating season for Callahan, whose hip has bothered him even after a labral tear was surgically repaired in June. Callahan has been limited to 18 games. His last one was Jan. 7.
After spending more than a month rehabilitating and exhausting several options, Callahan still didn't feel right. So he had an appointment Tuesday with Dr. Bryan Kelly, who had performed the surgery. An exploratory procedure revealed that the labrum remains intact and Callahan's problem is more about scar tissue, Yzerman said.
"All in all, it's encouraging," Yzerman said.
This could also give the Lightning around $5.8 million in additional salary cap space for Wednesday's trade deadline if Callahan, who has three years left on his deal, is put on long-term injured reserve. That could give Yzerman much-needed flexibility.
"If we want to, we can take advantage," Yzerman said. "If there's an opportunity to make our team better, we will."
NOTES: With wing Jonathan Drouin missing Wednesday's practice due to body maintenance, forward Cory Conacher was recalled from AHL Syracuse for insurance for tonight's game against Calgary.