Ryan Callahan out four weeks with nagging hip injury

The hits just keep coming for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The team announced Ryan Callahan will be out four weeks with a lower-body injury.

From Joe Smith of The Tampa Bay Times:

Callahan continues to be bothered by his hip, which was surgically-repaired back in June. He’s played in just 18 games this season, the last coming Jan. 7 in Philadelphia. It’s been frustrating for Callahan, who can’t seem to shake the soreness. He’s tried resting it, missing over a month from Nov. 28-Jan. 3. But after playing in just three games, Callahan is out at least another month.

Back in June, Callahan underwent successful surgery to repair a labral tear in his right hip. The expectation was that Callahan would be out five months for healing and rehabilitation.

He missed eight games to start the 2016-17 regular season and re-entered the Lightning lineup just over one month ahead of schedule.

The return was short lived.

A month after playing his first game of the season, he was out of the lineup again this time missing 15 games.

His next return was even more brief, lasting only three games before the team made the announcement on Sunday. In total, Callahan has played 18 games and scored four points.

Smith reports the plan for Callahan is to ‘rest and rehab while out four weeks’ and his return is slated for around mid-February.

Steve Yzerman has proven to be a Jedi when it comes to contracts. Now he’s being tested with a team that’s under-performing and experiencing injuries in what feels like almost every day.

According to Cap Friendly, the Lightning are sitting right against the salary cap with J.T. Brown and Brayden Point on injured reserve and Steven Stamkos on long-term IR. The team could conceivably put Callahan on LTIR if he’s going to be out longer than the four weeks to save some cap space.

The trade deadline looms large on February 28. Will Stamkos and Callahan be back by then? What will the team do with Ben Bishop?

The team is seventh in the Eastern Conference (20-20-4); four points behind third place Toronto in the Atlantic and six points away from the last Wild Card spot. Nikita Kucherov (40 points) and Victor Hedman (38 points) lead the team in scoring.