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Associated Press
12/12/2006 3:31:37 PM

MONTREAL (CP) - Bruins centre Phil Kessel, the fifth overall pick in the draft last spring, has undergone "cancer-related surgery" and is recovering in Boston.

However, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli would not confirm on Tuesday a report from a Boston television station that said the 19-year-old had testicular cancer.

He said the surgery was performed on Monday.

"At the beginning of this week, Phil had cancer-related surgery," Chiarelli said. "He's progressing well and we'll have follow-up information upon the wishes of the family.

"I spoke to him. He's in very good spirits."

Kessel's family issued a statement on Monday that said the rookie centre was absent from the team with a "health issue" and asked that their privacy on the matter be respected.

Agent Wade Arnott told the Boston Globe that Kessel had unspecified cancer surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and that he was "resting in Boston and on the road to recovery."

Arnott said the cancer was detected recently.

Chiarelli could give no timeline on how long Kessel will be out of action. He missed his first game Tuesday night against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chiarelli said coach Dave Lewis has addressed Kessel's injury with the other players.

"Dave's had a series of meetings and some of the guys have talked to Phil," he said. "They handled it internally.

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