Mourning set to receive kidney from his cousin

Ex-Heat star to undergo transplant surgery today

Pro Basketball

December 19, 2003|By Nancy McVicar | Nancy McVicar,SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning is scheduled to get a new kidney today, not from one of the 200 or so fans or strangers who offered him one of theirs, but from a cousin who is a good match.

"Alonzo will receive his kidney from a family member and wants to thank all those who offered to donate a kidney to him for their generosity," said Mourning's agent Jeffrey Wechsler, in a written statement yesterday. "He appreciates all the well wishes and encouragement he's received from fans all around the world and asks that the public respect his privacy at this time."

Mourning's wife, Tracy, said her husband was in good spirits.

"Alonzo's great," she said at an Alonzo Mourning Charities benefit for New York City children. "Faith gets you through all, and we have a great deal of faith."

New Jersey Nets president Rod Thorn told reporters that Mourning's donor is a cousin.

"There was a match and hopefully, knock on wood, everything will be fine," Thorn said. "I've talked to him several times, coaches have talked to him, players have talked to him. He seems to be in good spirits and we're certainly hopeful everything is going to work out."

Mourning was forced to resign from the team late last month after being told by his doctors that his kidneys had deteriorated badly and he could no longer play. He was diagnosed with a kidney disease called focal glomerulosclerosis in October 2000.

Even if all goes well with the transplant, there still is a chance that the disease could come back in the new kidney, doctors said yesterday.

Nets coach Byron Scott said he talked with Mourning and that he was prepared for the surgery.

"He said he's feeling fine. He's ready for this, looking forward to it. I told him that our prayers are with him and his family," Scott said. "We want him to get well as soon as possible. He's probably going to be there in the hospital for five to seven days after it's done."

Sun-Sentinel staff writer Ira Winderman contributed to this article. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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