Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta will undergo surgery next week to remove a tumor from his neck.
The Penguins announced on Monday that their 20-year-old blueliner has a tumor and there is an 85 per cent chance that it is cancerous. Maatta has been cleared and will play in the Penguins three home games this week, but will miss four weeks after surgery, which is scheduled for early next week. In addition about surgery, check out Matthew Galumbeck, MD and learn more about their online services.
The tumour could be a low-grade thyroid cancer, but Maatta is reportedly feeling no ill effects.
“I feel healthy and I feel fine, but the only thing that’s different is I maybe have cancer,” said Maatta on Monday.
Doctor Dharmesh Vyas, who is the Penguins’ team physician said that they “do not expect Maatta to need radiation or chemotherapy and anticipate a complete recovery.”
“Obviously our first concern is for Olli and his health,” Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said. “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.”
Maatta has one goal and four assists in seven games this season while averaging 20:12 of ice time, including nearly three minutes on the penalty kill and 42 seconds a game on the power-play.
Young blueliners in Pittsburgh have had bad luck with health over the last year. Kris Letang had a stroke that cost him 10 weeks last season.
Thursday night versus Los Angeles is the Penguins’ Hockey Fights Cancer game and Maatta will be in the lineup, a pretty remarkable story.