Pittsburgh defenseman Olli Maatta will miss between 3-4 weeks after he suffered what the Penguins are calling an upper-body injury following a violent collision with the boards Tuesday night.
The injury, which was gruesome to watch, came when Maatta slammed hard into an opening door on the Minnesota bench after he was given a shove by Wild winger Nino Niederreiter. The impact left Maatta down on the bench wincing in pain and he had to be helped down the Wild’s tunnel by the training staff of the Penguins. After making his way back to the dressing room, Maatta was reportedly taken to the hospital on a stretcher.
Maatta, 21, remained in hospital Tuesday night and for much of the morning Wednesday, but was released shortly before noon when his 3-4 week timeline for return was announced by Penguins GM Jim Rutherford.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported Wednesday afternoon that Maatta didn’t sustain any internal injuries, but the impact caused “soft tissue and muscle damage to his mid-section” that will keep him sidelined for nearly one month.
Maatta has had an incredibly tough time with injuries over the course of his career. In his rookie season, he missed two games with an upper-body injury, and his sophomore season was riddled with ailments. In November 2014, he was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on his thyroid which was removed and resulted in a six-game absence for Maatta. Ten games after returning from surgery, Maatta suffered a shoulder injury that sidelined him for 61 games — the remainder of the Penguins’ season. Pittsburgh did announce, however, that Maatta’s current upper-body injury is unrelated to any ailments he has had in the past.
If Maatta is out the full four weeks, he could miss up to 12 games. Through 18 games this season, he had scored two goals and four points. Maatta had played up and down the lineup, but had seen his ice time go up in each of his past three games before injury.
The Penguins called blueliner David Warsofsky from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The 25-year-old has two goals and six points in 13 games for the AHL Penguins. Over the past two years, Warsofsky has played 10 NHL contests, all with the Boston Bruins. He has one goal and three points in his NHL career.