Wilcox to undergo aortic surgery


Chris Wilcox will miss the rest of the season due to a heart ailment.SAN FRANCISCO -- For the second time in this abbreviated NBA season, the Boston Celtics have lost a player to a heart ailment. Chris Wilcox, a forward/center, will undergo aortic surgery on March 29 and miss the remainder of the season, the team announced Wednesday.

"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 in a team release. "The entire Celtics family supports Chris during this difficult time in his career."

The cardiac irregularity was first detected last week during a routine screening. Wilcox has had a known heart abnormality that previously had remained stable, but followup tests confirmed Wilcox's aorta has thickened recently. Doctors are hopeful Wilcox will be able to resume his basketball career next season.

Boston already endured the loss of Jeff Green, who had his contract voided before the season after a routine physical detected an aortic aneurysm. Green underwent surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in January to repair his aorta.

"It’s obviously tough -- tough for Chris first, but in the grand scheme of things, Lawrence Frank sarcastically [texted], 'You guys are in the business of savings lives.' In retrospect, that’s true. I’d rather have it that way," Celtics coach Doc River said before Wednesday's game against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland. "Basketball-wise, it puts us in a bit of a hole, so we have until [Thursday] to see if we can extract a big from somewhere. But we don’t want to give up anything. It’s going to be tough to do."

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