Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta will have surgery next week to remove a tumor from his neck, the team announced Monday.
The Penguins said the tumor could be a low-grade thyroid cancer.
"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," Penguins team physician Dr. Dharmesh Vyas said in a statement. "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 surgery and will likely be able to return to the lineup within four weeks, according to Vyas.
Vyas said the tumor was discovered during preseason physicals, and a diagnosis was reached after multiple tests were performed.
"Obviously our first concern is for Olli and his health," Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said in a 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 has one goal and four assists in seven games this season. The Finn was selected No. 22 overall in the 2012 draft and posted nine goals and 29 points in 78 games as a rookie last season.