In December, Jeff Green and the Boston Celtics got some bad luck when it was revealed that he needed surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm, a serious heart-related issue that would cause him to miss the entirety of the season. It was a surprise, the sort of health problem that doesn't typically occur in a world of ACL tears and sprained ankles. The only good news was that it was caught early, before something more serious could occur.
After Green, it's fair to say that few NBA observers expected another player to miss time this season due to a similar issue. However, big man Chris Wilcox, a teammate of Green with the Celtics, will now miss the rest of the 2011-12 campaign for yet another aorta problem. From the Associated Press:
Boston Celtics forward Chris Wilcox is scheduled to have surgery for an enlarged aorta and will miss the rest of the season. The team announced Wednesday that the surgery should allow him to resume his career next season.
The operation is scheduled for March 29 at the Cleveland Clinic where another Celtics forward, Jeff Green,had season-ending surgery for an aortic aneurysm on Jan. 9. Doctors have said Green also should be able to play next season. [...]
"While we are saddened that Chris will not be able to play again this season, the most important thing is his health, and we were fortunate to have access to an amazing team of specialists to evaluate Chris's case," Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said.
The club said it gave the 29-year-old Wilcox frequent aortic scans because he has had an abnormality for a long time. It had remained stable during his 10-year career, but a recent scan showed "significant enlargement of his aorta," the Celtics said. The surgery was scheduled after he received additional tests.
The Celtics are now very thin in the frontcourt, but that concern takes an obvious backseat to Wilcox's long-term health. As with Green, the story here is that Celtics doctors were able to deal with the problem before it became life-threatening. This is why teams screen players regularly for these conditions.
We wish the best of luck to Wilcox in his recovery. With free agency impending this summer, hopefully he recovers quickly and can make his way back to an NBA roster for next season.