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OutletPass
05-01-2003, 11:58 AM
Free agent Mourning says he'll test market

MIAMI -- Alonzo Mourning, who was forced to miss the 2002-03 NBA season with a kidney ailment, said doctors have given him clearance to resume playing next season.

Mourning did not say whether he definitely planned to return, but told Sporting News Radio on Tuesday that doctors have given him "the thumbs-up to possibly go out there and play the game again.''

"Up until September, they'll continue to monitor my body chemistry to see if I will be able at that time to play,'' Mourning said. "But right now, they're giving me the thumbs-up to play.''

Mourning, 33, was diagnosed in October 2000 with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a kidney disease that can eventually require a transplant. He played in just the final 13 games in the 2000-01 season, but appeared in 75 games the following season and made the All-Star team for the seventh time.

But shortly before training camp, Mourning was advised by doctors to skip the 2002-03 season because test results indicated his disease was worsening. He did not discuss specifics of his current medical state during Tuesday's interview.

"I'm doing well, considering the time and the ability that I have had to get a better grasp on this whole physical situation,'' Mourning said. "It's enabled me to put myself in a position where I could possibly explore (playing) the game again.''

Mourning made $20.6 million last season, the last of a seven-year, $105 million contract with the Heat. Mourning, who has had several discussions with Heat coach Pat Riley in recent weeks, said he will now test the free-agent market.

"I understand this is a business. I'm not taking anything personally,'' Mourning said. "But Pat Riley has to make business decisions. ... And I, too, have to make the best decision for myself and my family. What I addressed to Pat is that I'm going to explore the market. The market is out there and I'd be foolish to not explore what is out there.''

He did, however, say his preference would be to return to the Heat, with whom he has averaged 19.8 points per game in his seven seasons.

"My heart is in Miami. I want to be there,'' Mourning said. "I'm a pillar in that community and the basketball organization. When people think of Miami, they think of me and the impact I've had on that organization.''

Riley said earlier this month that Mourning could return to the club, but at a reduced salary. "A lot is going to be predicated on his health, his endurance,'' Riley said.

Dooby
05-01-2003, 12:07 PM
IMO, there is no difference between this article and the ones saying Willis McGehee will play next year.

They don't friggin know. This is being done in advance of free-agency to help Zo get a better contract. Anybody who puts stock in this is fooling themselves.

OutletPass
05-01-2003, 12:26 PM
Exactly, Dooby...and it's why I posted this. I think that it's from the theater of the absurd.

I would NEVER, EVER take the risk on him...

but I'll bet someone will.

Ummmmm Ok
05-01-2003, 12:29 PM
Sacramento will. They are deep enough, why not have Alonzo back up Webber instead of Keon Clark.

Maybe even the Lakers might try to get ZO if they don't get Malone?

What about Orlando? Would be risky for them as they have Grant Hill on the DL but hes exactly what they need in the East.

Detroit maybe? He would compliment Ben Wallace extremely well, Ben would just have to worry about defense, thats it.

RoyTarpley
05-01-2003, 09:47 PM
Mourning might be just what the doctor ordered to help the lakers get either their 4th or 5th title in 5 years.