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Stone: I was ready to do 'whatever it took' to return for playoffs

Patrick Smith / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Mark Stone's season, and perhaps even his career, could've been in significant jeopardy when he underwent a second back surgery in less than nine months this February.

Now one win away from hoisting the Stanley Cup, the Vegas Golden Knights captain discussed his unlikely recovery, saying he was determined to return.

"I was going to do whatever it took to get back for the playoffs," Stone said, per ESPN's Greg Wyshynski. "I wasn't sure if it was going to be in Game 1 or Game 5 or Game 10. I was going to do whatever it took to get back."

Stone added, "You talk to a lot of guys, they don't usually just get one back surgery. They usually get two, because as much as you think you know the problem, sometimes you don't.

"And unfortunately, (surgery) didn't work the first time, but (I) saw a different surgeon … (and had) minor things done. And I feel great."

Stone was limited to 37 games in the 2021-22 campaign due to back issues. He underwent his first procedure in May 2022. He returned to the lineup to start the current campaign but was sidelined on Jan. 12 after re-injuring himself.

The Golden Knights shut him down indefinitely with no firm timeline for a return but were still able to secure the top spot in the Western Conference.

"We were in first place when I got hurt," Stone said. "I knew we had a good team, and I wanted to be part of it. Especially when the team kept winning. I wanted to be back there with the guys. Long, hard days. But you just put your head down, and you get going."

Stone returned for Vegas' playoff opener against the Winnipeg Jets and has 21 points in 21 contests this spring. He's been a force in the Stanley Cup Final, registering six points in four games against the Florida Panthers.

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