Wednesday November 5th, 2014

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta underwent successful surgery to remove a tumor from his thyroid gland, the team announced Tuesday.

The Penguins revealed last week that Maatta required the surgery, and said that the player should recover fully without additional treatment even if the tumor proved to be cancerous. The team reiterated that point Tuesday.

“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,” said Dr. Dharmesh Vyas, the Penguins’ team physician. “The surgery went well and Olli is resting comfortably.”

Pittsburgh said results of testing to determine if the tumor was malignant should be available in seven to 10 days.

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The tumor was initially discovered during preseason physicals, but it was determined Maatta was able to continue to play without jeopardizing his healthy, and he received regular playing time for the Penguins from the beginning of the season until Tuesday.

Maatta is expected to return within four weeks.

Maatta, 20, has six points in 10 games this season and has averaged 19:59 of ice time. He played in all three of the Penguins' games since the announcement he would need surgery, recording one point and averaging 19:28 of ice time.

The second-year pro played in 78 games as a rookie last season, totaling 29 points and averaging 18:30 of ice time. He finished fifth in the voting for the Calder Trophy and was selected to play for Team Finland at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

•​ Gordie Howe recovering quickly from stroke

The Penguins have 17 points in 11 games this season, tied for the most in the Eastern Conference.

Ben Estes

 

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