Ryan Callahan's NHL career appears to be coming to an end.
The former Rangers captain, currently on the Tampa Bay Lightning, was told by doctors he has a degenerative back disease and was recommended that he no longer play hockey, Lightning GM Julien BriseBois announced on Thursday.
Callahan, 34, opened up about his back condition in an interview with the team's website, calling it a "degenerative disc disease," and essentially confirmed he will not be returning.
"I don't think a year off or two years off is going to help it to be honest with you," he said. "From what the doctors have said and the way I feel, it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to come back."
Callahan played in just 52 games last season with the Lightning and had seven goals and 10 assists. He has spent the last six years in Tampa Bay after spending his first eight seasons in New York where he was captain for the Rangers beginning in the 2011-12 season when he was just 26.
"I've been dealing with some back issues for a couple years now, this year being the worst that it's ever been," he said. "Obviously missing some games with it, leaving some games with it. I've kind of been battling it all year. Didn't know to what extent and after the season I went and saw a couple specialists and after talking to them, it wasn't easy to hear what they thought was going on and most likely won't be able to play. It was definitely tough to hear that."
Callahan has 186 goals and 200 assists to total 386 career points in 757 NHL games.