BOSTON (AP) – Bruins rookie forward Phil Kessel underwent cancer surgery and is “on the road to recovery,” his agent said Tuesday.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed that the 19-year-old Kessel, the fifth pick in this year’s NHL draft, had “cancer-related surgery” and that any further update on his treatment or the length of his absence would come from Kessel’s family.

“That’s something that the Kessels will disclose when they’re ready,” Chiarelli said before the Bruins played the Canadiens in Montreal on Tuesday night. “We”re just trying to honor their wishes.”

Kessel’s agent, Wade Arnott, said the center had surgery on Monday at Massachusetts General Hospital, according to The Boston Globe’s Web site.

“He got thrown a curveball,” Arnott told the Globe, without specifying the kind of cancer. “But he’s holding up pretty well.”

The condition was identified “very recently” after Kessel felt minor symptoms, Arnott said. “He’s resting in Boston and on the road to recovery.”

Arnott did not immediately return a call from the AP.

The speedy Kessel has five goals and four assists in 27 games. He played one season at Minnesota before signing a multiyear contract with the Bruins in August. He led Minnesota and was sixth in the WCHA in scoring with 18 goals and 33 assists in 34 games. He also was the career leader in goals for USA Hockey’s national development team.

AP-ES-12-12-06 2044EST


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