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Pens’ Maatta has potentially cancerous tumor

St Louis Blues v Pittsburgh Penguins

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 23: Olli Maatta #3 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the St. Louis Blues during the game at Consol Energy Center on March 23, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Justin K. Aller

From the Pittsburgh website:

Olli Maatta is scheduled to undergo surgery next week to remove a tumor from his neck that could be a low-grade thyroid cancer.

“Olli will have surgery to remove the tumor,” said Dr. Dharmesh Vyas, the Penguins’ team physician. “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.”

Maatta, 20, has been cleared to play until the time of the surgery.

Vyas said he will likely be able to return to the lineup within four weeks.

“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. The Penguins organization will be there for him and support him every step of the way.”

Vyas said the tumor was discovered during pre-season physicals by UPMC physician Dr. Eric Anish. Doctors ran multiple tests before reaching their diagnosis.

Rutherford said that Maatta will continue to play for the remainder of this week -- the Pens have games on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday -- before undergoing surgery next week. Vyas said (per the club’s Twitter account) that “it’s an 85 percent chance” that Maatta has cancer.

Olli Maatta: “I’m trying to find out everything I can. I know I’m going to be fine.”

— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 27, 2014

Maatta: “I haven’t been that worried about it because I know we have a great medical staff here. I know they are going to take care of me.”

— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 27, 2014