View Full Version : Ostertag scores!

06-27-2002, 07:50 PM
We heard about it a few weeks ago...it is now reality. Way to go Tags. A true hero.

Jazz center donates kidney; expected back for camp

Associated Press

DALLAS -- With smiles, laughter and high hopes, Utah Jazz center Greg Ostertag donated a kidney Thursday to his younger sister, whose kidneys failed in March.


Doctors at Baylor University Medical Center said the transplant was a success and that both Ostertag and his sister, Amy Hall, were recovering well.

"It just clicked, it couldn't have gone better,'' said surgeon Robert Goldstein, who also did Mickey Mantle's liver transplant at the medical center in 1995. "It's already working wonderfully. She very quickly will start feeling better.''

Hall, 26, has had type 1 diabetes since she was 7. Her kidney problems began three years ago, and in March it was determined she needed a new organ. Tests showed her brother to be a perfect donor.

Goldstein said the first month to six weeks is when rejection would most likely surface, but that Hall will be on medicine to prevent that.

"In a living, related donor like this, there is a high, high success rate,'' he said. "Hopefully Amy can grow very, very old with this kidney.''

Ostertag was doing fine adjusting to one kidney, said his surgeon, Butch Derrick. The plan was for him to start walking late Thursday and for his activities to increase daily. He's expected to be released Saturday or Sunday.

"He was sitting up, talking, feels just fine,'' said Derrick, who came to an afternoon news conference straight from visiting Ostertag. "He wanted me to tell everyone hello. He sends his best.''

The only minor complication came shortly before the 7-foot-2 Ostertag's surgery.

"We had to find a long enough table to put him on,'' Derrick said.

The siblings made sure the mood was light before the operations.

"They were joking and carrying on. They were hilarious,'' said Kathryn Goldstein, a hospital spokeswoman. "It was typical sibling joking back and forth, just being silly.''

Derrick said Ostertag asked whether he could play golf Sunday. Hall asked Goldstein what kind of music would be playing in the operating room.

"She wanted George Strait,'' he said. "So, we had a country day.''

Ostertag's surgery took about 2 hours. Doctors made four small incisions and used a scope rather than performing the traditional open cut. The largest cut, about 4 inches, was on his left side for the removal of the kidney.

The hospital has used this less-invasive method since September 1999, in part because there's a shorter recovery period.

The risk of career-threatening complications are low. Ostertag should be able to report to training camp on time.

"I would expect him to return to playing basketball at the level he played before the surgery,'' Derrick said.

Had Hall not had the operation now, she would've needed dialysis soon. Instead of being hooked to that machine for four-hour stretches three times a week, she'll be back at full strength in about six weeks, possibly returning to her job with a law firm. She's expected to leave the hospital Monday or Tuesday.

"In a week, she can go to a restaurant or movie,'' Goldstein said. "Anything you or I can do, Amy will be able to do.''

Goldstein said there are about 52,000 people on transplant waiting lists, including 3,000 in Texas. He said the publicity generated by a professional athlete donating an organ can help spread the message about the need for donors.

Ostertag, 29, will try becoming the second player in three years to return to the NBA with only one kidney. Sean Elliott went back to the San Antonio Spurs after getting a kidney from his brother in March 2000.

"We're relying on people who are experts and what they're telling us, and the experts say this shouldn't be a problem for Greg's playing career,'' Kevin O'Connor, Utah's vice president for basketball operations, said Thursday.

Ostertag led Duncanville to the state championship in 1991, then starred at Kansas. With the Jazz, he's often been labeled an underachiever, primarily because his production hasn't measured up to his $36 million, six-year contract. He has two seasons and $16.3 million left.

He's coming off a strong playoff series in a first-round loss to Sacramento, averaging 6.8 points and 8.5 rebounds, double his regular-season numbers in both categories.

Although Utah acquired 7-foot center Curtis Borchardt during the draft, team owner Larry Miller said the move had nothing to do with Ostertag's health.

"It isn't something we're worried about,'' he said.

06-28-2002, 08:19 AM
Man...I can't believe noone is giving Tags props in this forum. This is as a heroic gesture as you will ever see.

Tags for Man of the Year in 2002!!!!

06-28-2002, 02:55 PM
big ups to the big O.

06-28-2002, 03:30 PM
well done ~!