Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis, who was diagnosed with a blood clot in his lung on Nov. 19, said Thursday he has been cleared for full-contact workouts.
"It's exciting. It's a day I've been waiting a long time for," Dupuis told the Penguins website. "It just feels great. It feels right, the right time."
Dupuis' struggles began before the early-season diagnosis. He tore his ACL/MCL in a game against the Ottawa Senators on Dec. 23, 2013, and a blood clot formed in his knee. The right wing missed the remainder of that season, treating the clot with blood thinners and rehabbing his leg during the summer.
Dupuis, 36, returned to the Penguins for the first 16 games of this season, but the blood clot traveled to his lung.
"The blood clot has dissolved, and the doctors have recommended a blood-thinner medication that will allow him to play," Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said Thursday. "It's a big step forward for Pascal, and we're all excited for him."
Dupuis said he worked hard to ensure he healed properly.
"I actually listened to the doctors for a change (laughs)," Dupuis said. "The fact that I listened played a big role in me getting cleared for contact."
Sticking to his doctors' protocol wasn't easy, he admitted.
"You know me, I maybe wasn't the easiest one to deal with, but they were awesome throughout," Dupuis said. "They're way smarter than I am and I have to listen to them."
Dupuis was treated with the blood thinners from November until May and was allowed to train during that time, but he could not absorb any physical contact. The Quebec native said he intends to train as he normally would for most of this summer but will spend more time on the ice leading up to training camp to regain his timing and speed.
"I've missed quite a bit of hockey in the last couple years," said Dupuis, who missed 109 of the past 125 games for the Penguins.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound forward had six goals and five assists for 11 points in his 16 games this season. In eight seasons with the Penguins, Dupuis was a frequent linemate of captain Sidney Crosby and scored 20 goals twice.
"I'm a little anxious," Dupuis said. "It's definitely something I'm looking forward to, but right now I have to take it one step at a time."