Coach Jon Cooper relayed Wednesday that Stamkos (knee) is now in the day-to-day category, Bryan Burns of the Lightning's official site reports.

Cooper acknowledged that Stamkos -- who technically remains on IR -- is unlikely to play Thursday against the Red Wings, but added encouragingly, "after that, I'd say it's getting really close."

The timing of this positive news couldn't be better for the Bolts, with the team on a three-game roll and now on the cusp of the NHL's playoff structure.

Prior to sustaining his injury in mid-November, Tampa Bay's top sniper had recorded nine goals and 20 points over the course of 17 games.