In the dark days following the gruesome injury that just about snapped his right tibia in two, Lightning star Steven Stamkos felt it all.

Pain. Frustration. Helplessness. Anger.

But one emotion pretty much summed it up.

"Miserable," Stamkos said.

It was pure agony just to go to the restroom, or get a drink from the kitchen. Just sitting up took all his might.

"I couldn't even lift my own leg off the bed," Stamkos said. "It just felt like my leg was dead. And there was a lot of pain."

Forget hockey. Stamkos only wished to feel normal again.

But slowly and miserably, the days passed, and here he was Monday — exactly two weeks from when he crashed into the goal post in Boston and broke his leg — incredibly walking without the aid of a crutch, cane or walking boot. And, believe it or not, he's talking about playing hockey again. This season.

"That's the goal and, hopefully, that's the reality when it's all said and done," Stamkos said in his first public comments since the injury.

A return this season seems miraculous. Two weeks ago today, doctors hammered a steel rod into his lower leg and secured it into place with screws.

Yet, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said Monday: "I think there's a very good chance you'll see him this season. I'm expecting that. I don't know exactly when, but I'm expecting him back."

The initial prognosis was Stamkos would miss three to six months, but Yzerman said, "Barring any unforeseen setbacks, I think it's reasonable to say he could be on the earlier side of that."

Hard to believe when you think back to that Monday afternoon in Boston.