Penguins' Pascal Dupuis has blood clot in his lung
November 19, 2014 1:07 PM
The Penguins' Pascal Dupuis will miss at least six months due to a blood clot in his lung. At right are Penguins coach Mike Johnson, forward Evegeni Malkin, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, defenseman Kris Letang and forward Sidney Crosby.
The Penguins' Pascal Dupuis discusses his blood clot diagnosis today. At left is Penguins associate general manager Jason Botterill and Dr. Dharmesh Vyas, the team's physician.
Pascal Dupuis will be out for at least six months.
By Jenn Menendez / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Doctors discovered a blood clot in Pascal Dupuis’ lung after the Penguins winger complained of chest discomfort Monday.
Dupuis, 35, will be on blood thinners for the next six months and will not be permitted to play hockey because of the risk of bleeding. He and team doctor Dharmesh Vyas said it is too early to tell if the condition could end his playing career.
The Penguins held a short news conference Wednesday at Consol Energy Center to announce the franchise’s latest health scare. An emotional Dupuis was flanked by Vyas, associate general manager Jason Botterill, coach Mike Johnston and several teammates.
“It’s not a great situation to be in, but that’s the card that I’ve been dealt,” said Dupuis, a veteran known for his leadership and sense of humor in the locker room. “Hockey is definitely second on my mind right now. [Family] is the most important thing in my life right now. I’ve just got to be healthy for them.”
Dupuis was held back from traveling to Montreal with the team earlier this week after visiting doctors with mild chest discomfort.
The clot was discovered after a CT scan and ultrasound indicated he had developed a blood clot in his leg. Such a condition is called deep vein thrombosis in medical terms. The clot then traveled to one of his lungs, creating a pulmonary embolism — a potentially fatal complication if not treated in time, Vyas said.
Dupuis will be required to take an injectable blood thinner, Lovanox, then eventually Coumadin in pill form. Vyas said Dupuis is medically stable, but a series of tests are pending.
Dupuis developed a blood clot last January after he injured the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee and was treated with blood thinners then. He said he initially did not want to admit the pain he was feeling Monday was similar to what he felt in January.
“The way I felt? Probably trying to deny it. Probably did not want to feel that way,” Dupuis said. “It did feel the same way, the exact same way it felt before, and I just didn’t want to believe it.”
Vyas said the testing was more aggressive because of Dupuis’ history and emphasized how important it was that the problem was found quickly.
Botterill addressed reporters because general manager Jim Rutherford was out of town. He said the club eventually will place Dupuis on long-term injured reserve, creating salary-cap relief. His salary will free $3.75 million of cap space.
“On the ice, Pascal’s versatility has helped the Penguins have a lot of success,” Botterill said. “Off the ice, Pascal has become a leader with his involvement in the community and the passion he brings to our locker room every day. … Moving forward, the biggest and most important thing is the well being of Pascal Dupuis.”
Asked if he was optimistic he would eventually return to the ice, Dupuis said: “It’s kind of hard for me to answer that question right now. Not all the results came back, but I’ll put the effort into it.”
Dupuis has had a trying past 11 months.
He missed the majority of last season after undergoing surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in January, suffered the blood clot before that surgery, then had a scary incident last month on the ice. He was struck with a puck in the back of the neck and temporarily lost feeling in both arms.
“It’s been hard, but the hockey stuff, the knee, the puck in the neck, this is all stuff you come back from. You’re a hockey player,” Dupuis said. “You’re supposed to come back from that stuff. It’s the risk you take as a hockey player to be on the ice.
“But the other stuff? The clot, the lungs … it has nothing to do with hockey. It’s life-threatening, and you have to have to think of yourself and family and loved ones before hockey comes to mind.”
Dupuis, recently reunited with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz on the top line, had scored six goals, five assists in 16 games this season.
He was replaced by Blake Comeau on the top line Tuesday night against Montreal. Dupuis also was on the second power-play unit and a key penalty-killer.
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