Fortunately for Marek Tvrdon, he spoke up as soon as he realized he was in physical discomfort. The Vancouver Giants confirmed the 19-year-old Detroit Red Wings draft pick, who is leading the WHL team in scoring, has had surgery to remove a blood clot in his left shoulder and is out for the rest of the year.
Tvrdon discovered the clot (keep in mind, blood clots have affected many big-name athletes, including tennis star Serena Williams and baseball legend Mariano Rivera) prior to a Giants game last weekend. It is a huge setback for the Slovak, who looked like a great draft pick for the Wings after they took him in the fourth round in 2011 even though he missed nearly all of his first North American season due to surgery on his right shoulder. As Elliott Pap reported, the clot was discovered during a pregame warmup.
The 19-year-old Slovak was supposed to play last Sunday against the Prince George Cougars and took the pre-game warmup. He was seen at the players' bench talking to a trainer and pointing to his arm. He was subsequently scratched from the lineup and Hay told reporters post-game that Tvrdon had an infection in his arm.
This marks the second time in his three seasons with the Giants that Tvrdon has been unable to complete the year. In 2010-11, he appeared in only 12 games before requiring major shoulder surgery. He played 60 games last season and collected 74 points. This season, he had 22 points in 18 games. Tvrdon was drafted by the Red Wings in the fourth round (115th overall) in 2011. (Vancouver Sun)
Tvrdon has 22 points in 18 games for a rebuilding Giants team which is second-last in the WHL, although that is not so important at the moment. There's a reasonable expectation he will play next season, although there's probably no underselling what a bad break this is for the young man.
"Marek had a small blockage isolated to a single vein in his left shoulder," says Giants' General Manager & Executive VP, Scott Bonner. "It was completely and rapidly dissolved and he is doing very well. Marek is under the excellent care of numerous specialists and he is recovering quickly. He will not be returning this season but he is expected to have a full recovery and future career as a hockey player. Right now our priority is Marek's health and well-being and we would like to respect his and his family's privacy."
It's been a rough couple days for Detroit prospects. Here's to wishing Tvrdon, who also would have been a big part of Team Slovakia at the world junior, all the best.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.