Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Matta will undergo surgery to have a tumor removed, the team announced Monday.
According to the Penguins, Maatta’s tumor could be low-grade thyroid cancer. However, according to team physician Dr. Dharmesh Vyas, the Penguins’ medical staff is confident the 20-year-old Maatta can make a full recovery.
“Olli will have surgery to remove the tumor,” Dr. Dharmesh Vyas, the Penguins’ team physician, said. “Even if it is found to be cancerous, we do not expect that he will need radiation or chemotherapy, and we anticipate a complete recovery. In all likelihood, Olli will go on to live a healthy life and this should not affect his ability to play hockey long-term.”
Vyas also said Maatta could even return to the lineup within four weeks.
“Obviously our first concern is for Olli and his health,” Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said in the statement. “He is an outstanding young man and has a tremendous future ahead of him. The doctors tell us that this is a very treatable condition, and that it can be taken care of with the surgery. The Penguins organization will be there for him and support him every step of the way.”
Maatta can continue to play until he has the surgery, and Rutherford told reporters Monday that Maatta will play this week.
Maatta and the Penguins found out about the condition during training camp. Despite the news, Maatta has played and played well. He has a goal and four assists in his first seven games.
This is the second serious medical situation for the Penguins in as many seasons. Defenseman Kris Letang missed 10 weeks after suffering a stroke. Letang made his eventual return last season and has played in all seven games this season.
Photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images
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