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NBA Rookie Ronny Turiaf career may be over


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Turiaf needs heart surgery


By Seattle Times staff

New Laker Ronny Turiaf has an enlarged heart.


The pro basketball career of Ronny Turiaf, the Gonzaga star who was a second-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakers last month, is in jeopardy because of an enlarged heart.


Turiaf will need open-heart surgery, ESPN.com reported last night. The Web site quoted a Lakers spokesman as saying the surgery will take place in 4-6 weeks.


The Web site quoted Turiaf's agent, Bouna Ndiaye, as saying, "His aorta is too large for his heart. This is open-heart surgery. He could come back if everything goes OK and he works hard."


The agent said Turiaf will meet with more doctors before deciding where and when to have surgery.


Turiaf, a 6-foot-10 forward who was West Coast Conference player of the year last season, was the 37th selection in the June 28 draft. He had signed a two-year guaranteed contract conditional on passing a physical. Turiaf averaged 14 points and 4.7 rebounds in Summer Pro League play for the Lakers. However, he was held out of the final four games.


ESPN.com quoted Ndiaye as saying Lakers owner Jerry Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak would "take care of the medical costs and told us they would keep his rights."


"They are showing us the good human part," Ndiaye told the Web site. "Ronny is down. He's a winner, and he's determined to get back one day."


Turiaf averaged 15.9 points and 9.5 rebounds his senior season and is No. 4 on Gonzaga's career scoring (1,723 points) and rebounding (859) lists.




I was really hoping to see him play this year. Hopefully he will fully recover and play in the NBA. He is one of the few basketball players that I admire.

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