Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Penguins announced Friday that defenseman Kris Letang suffered a stroke last week and will be sidelined at least six weeks.
The team said in a release that Letang's condition is "treatable with blood thinners and at this point is not believed to be career threatening" and believes a tiny hole in the wall of his heart may have led to the stroke.
"Kris had one brief episode of dizziness and nausea last week," Penguins executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero said in a statement. "We held him out of the Los Angeles game Thursday night, and when he continued to feel ill, tests conducted in Phoenix on Saturday gave us the first indication of his condition. Further testing then was conducted when he returned to Pittsburgh, and he continued to undergo a battery of tests here this week."
The tests revealed that Letang has had the small hole since birth. The defect in the wall is present in all individuals before birth and seals shut in most people.
Letang, 26, will be re-evaluated after six weeks of treatment.
"I hope that by making my condition public at this time, I can help other people by encouraging them to seek medical help if they experience some of the symptoms associated with a stroke - regardless of their age or general health," Letang said in a statement. "It obviously was a shock to get the news but I'm optimistic that I can overcome this and get back on the ice."
Letang has 10 goals and eight assists in 34 games this season.