Winnipeg Jets forward Gabriel Vilardi out indefinitely with enlarged spleen

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If Gabriel Vilardi didn’t have bad luck, he’d have no luck at all.

Already out of the lineup with an upper-body injury, the Winnipeg Jets forward has been diagnosed with an enlarged spleen that will keep him out indefinitely.

It was discovered while they were testing him for the injury that’s kept him out of the lineup the past seven games.

“He will not be making the road trip,” said Jets head coach Rick Bowness. “On further testing, he has an enlarged spleen, so at this point there is no timetable. We have to take care of that. But he will not be travelling with the team.”

Vilardi will miss at least the next six games.

He is getting treatment. It’s a rare affliction for a professional athlete. There’s no word about what specifically caused the ailment.

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Family physician Dr. Alan Katz said an enlarged spleen can be caused by something as relatively minor as mononucleosis or even something more serious like cancer.

“One of the things that happens is that the spleen gets enlarged as part of the body fighting that infection,”  Katz said. “But there are some more serious conditions that can cause an enlarged spleen, like cirrhosis of the liver, or some cancers, like leukemia in particular. And then there’s things like heart failure and sickle cell disease. So there’s a long list of diseases that can cause an enlarged spleen.”

The organ is intended to control the cells that help fight off infection in the bloodstream.

The doctor said the treatment starts with staying off the ice.

“Treat whatever is causing it if you can,” said Katz. “But also don’t go back into situations where the spleen could be forced to rupture by trauma.”

This is the third time Vilardi has been out of the lineup this season. He missed 18 games in October and November with a sprained MCL in his right knee. He was also out for two more games in January.

Unfortunately, it’s become a pattern for the 24-year-old. He was limited to 54 games in his rookie season with the Los Angeles Kings. Vilardi played just 25 as a sophomore and only appeared in 63 games last season.


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