After completing team physicals, the Buffalo Sabres announced Thursday that veteran defenseman Teppo Numminen will require surgery due to a cardiac condition.
The 39 year old has had two previous heart surgeries stemming from a dilated aorta he was diagnosed with in 2004. General Manager Darcy Regier indicated that this most recent surgery was unrelated to a past condition.
Numminen's most recent surgery took place following the playoffs in 2006, after he missed two games in the first round because of a racing and irregular heartbeat.
“I know it’s not the same procedure,” Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier said. “How it relates to his career is still a work in progress and a little bit unknown. We’ll just have to assess it on a day-to-day basis.”
According to a statement the Sabres released to the media, “Teppo was not at training camp today because he was meeting with team physicians regarding this matter.”
Regier said he could not confirm if the problem was more threatening than in the past.
“It’s early in the process,” he sad. “We’ll kind of move along at his schedule and see. Obviously he is a personal man… we’ll see where he goes with it and what he wants to do.”
According to Regier, Numminen was not having any specific problems previous to the physical.
"I had a short discussion with him and just wished him luck,” head coach Lindy Ruff said. “We hope everything turns out, and if there is anything we can do as a team or an organization that can be helpful we are going to do our utmost to help him along his way here.”
Numminen has played two seasons with the Sabres, signing as a free-agent in 2004. Last season he scored 29 points (2+27) in 79 games and recorded four assists in 16 playoff games.
On Nov. 13, 2006, Numminen played his 1,252nd game to break the mark set by Hall of Famer Jarri Kurri and finished the season with 1,314 games in his 18-year career. He has recorded a total of 115 goals and 505 assists.
The three-time all-star was a 1989 draft-pick, taken 29th overall by the Winnepeg Jets.