NHL

Olli Maatta needs surgery to remove tumour

Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Olli Maatta will have thyroid surgery next week to remove a potentially cancerous tumour.

Penguins defenceman will miss 4 weeks after operation

Penguins defenceman Olli Maatta is scheduled to miss four weeks but is cleared to play until he undergoes thyroid surgery. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Olli Maatta will have thyroid surgery next week to remove a potentially cancerous tumour.

The tumour was discovered during a preseason physical. Maatta underwent further tests before team doctors came to a diagnosis. He is scheduled to miss four weeks but is cleared to play until the surgery.

"I feel fine," Maatta said. "The only thing that's different is now I know that I have a cancer. It's tough news but I really don't think it has affected me much."

Team doctor Dharmesh Vyas said there is an "85 percent chance" the tumour is cancerous but added the 20-year-old from Finland will not need to undergo chemotherapy or radiation. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Maatta called the diagnosis "a bit of a surprise" but kept the news from most his teammates when he learned of his condition three weeks ago.

"I've been talking to doc a lot, to trainers, finding out everything I can about the cancer," he said. "But I know I'm going to be fine and I really haven't been that worried about it because I know we have a great medical staff here and I know they're going to take care of me."

Maatta has one goal and four assists in seven games this season for the Penguins, who host New Jersey on Tuesday.

"It's kind of news that catches your breath a little bit," Johnston said. ""His mindset is he's a strong athlete mentally ... and we're very confident he's going to be able to rebound from this fine."

Maatta will be forced to rest for seven to 10 days following the surgery. Barring any setbacks, he'll be cleared to return to skating and eventually work his way back into the lineup. Vyas said any additional procedures would be done following the season if any are required at all.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now