Archive for Saturday, December 20, 2003

Mourning in good condition

Former NBA All-Star undergoes kidney transplant surgery

December 20, 2003

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— Former NBA All-Star center Alonzo Mourning underwent kidney transplant surgery Friday and was in good condition.

The surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia hospital came less than a month after Mourning retired from the New Jersey Nets because of a kidney disease.

The kidney donor, a family member, also was in good condition.

"Alonzo asks that all those who offered to donate a kidney to him extend that generosity to others who are waiting for transplants," his agent, Jeffrey Wechsler, said in a statement released after the surgery was completed.

"He appreciates all the well wishes and encouragement he has received from fans all around the world and asks that the public respect his privacy during the recovery process."

Mourning, 33, retired Nov. 24 because of complications from the disease, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. He was diagnosed before the 2000-01 season, when he was with the Miami Heat.

Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, known as FSGS, affects the filters of the kidney that remove toxins from the blood.

In the weeks before his retirement, tests showed that Mourning's kidney function had deteriorated and that the chemical imbalances in his blood made it dangerous for him to play.

"When you think about guys you come in contact with during your lifetime, this is someone I will never forget," Nets coach Byron Scott said before New Jersey played the Washington Wizards Friday night. "He is a big-time inspiration to myself and probably a lot of those guys in the locker room."

Mourning told Scott earlier this week he was eager to have the surgery.

"He was psyched up about it," Scott said. "I'm just happy for him because I know this was something he wanted. God willing, hopefully, he'll be here for a long time."

In his 12-year NBA career, the former Georgetown standout was a seven-time All-Star and two-time defensive player of the year.

Scott feels Mourning may even consider a comeback once he recovers.

Former NBA player Sean Elliott successfully returned to play in the league in 2001 after he received a kidney transplant in 1999.

"He is a warrior," Scott said. "This is in his blood. This is what he does. He has been doing it for so long that you just can't get rid of it.

"It's like a junkie, it just doesn't go away that quick. It takes some time. I am sure he is going to think about it again."

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