BOISE, Idaho -- Former Gonzaga star Ronny Turiaf had nine points and five rebounds in his first game with the Yakima Sun Kings. They lost 120-111 Monday night at Boise.
Turiaf, who had open-heart surgery just over six months ago, signed a contract to play for the Continental Basketball Association team as part of his rehabilitation last week.
The 6-foot-9 forward, was chosen by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 35th pick in June's NBA draft. During a subsequent physical, doctors detected a heart problem, and Turiaf underwent surgery July 26 to repair an enlarged aortic root.
The Lakers voided the contract but retained the rights to Turiaf for three years. He has no timetable for joining the NBA team.
"I'm not physically healthy enough to endure practice and
training for an NBA schedule," Turiaf said at a Wednesday news
conference. "I'm using Yakima as training. As long as I'm here, I will work hard and I will try to make this team better."
Turiaf, who worked out with the Sun Kings for the first time Wednesday, said he got "a little winded" but otherwise felt good. He said he will be working to get back to NBA form, but for now, "I'm a Sun King."
The Sun Kings drafted Turiaf with the fifth pick in September's CBA draft, after his surgery.
The two teams play again Tuesday at Yakima.