Penguins’ Dupuis blood clot free, but future remains uncertain

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Pascal Dupuis is blood clot free, but his return to the NHL is still uncertain. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said there are still some things that need to be looked at regarding Dupuis, and that he hopes to have news about the veteran’s future by July 1.

More than seven months after being diagnosed with a blood clot in his lung, it’s still not a sure thing that Pittsburgh Penguins winger Pascal Dupuis will be able to return to the NHL.

Dupuis, 36, was diagnosed with the blood clot in his lung in November. At that time, the Penguins, along with the team’s medical staff, held a press conference to announce that Dupuis would be out for up to six months, but it’s now looking like it could be even longer, as GM Jim Rutherford was uncertain about Dupuis’ future when speaking with media this week.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Jason Mackey, Rutherford announced that while Dupuis is clot free, “there are other things from a medical point of view that have to be looked at.”

“On May 20, they started doing testing, checking to see where the blood clot was, or if it was there, all these things,” Rutherford said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari. “The next step is, there are certain medications you can go on that may allow you to play, or may not allow you to play.

“That’s the next step now, to see if there’s a medication that gives him enough recovery time that he’s available to play every day. That’s what we’re waiting to see.”

As for a timetable on finding out whether or not he’ll be able to come back in a full-time capacity, Rutherford seems to be taking a wait and see approach, but hopes to have his answer before free agency opens up.

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“Certainly, by July 1, we need to have an idea of whether he’s going to be able to play, or play part of a season, or how that lays out, so we can do our planning for our team,” Rutherford told media.

Dupuis isn’t the first player to be diagnosed with a blood clot that put their career in jeopardy – and he’s not even the first Penguin. This season, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Kimmo Timonen returned to action at the tail end of the season after battling blood clots in his legs and last season Penguins goaltender Tomas Vokoun was out with blood clots. After missing the entire season, Vokoun, 38, retired.

At his age, there isn’t likely much time left in Dupuis’ career and it would be awful should he have to go out due to a career-ending injury. Twice in the past four seasons, Dupuis was a 20-goal scorer, including the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign in which he scored 20 goals in 48 games. In the 16 games he suited up for before being sidelined for the year, Dupuis had scored six goals and 11 points.