Wednesday , Jul , 27 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Lakers’ Turiaf undergoes successful surgery

El Segundo, CA (Sports Network) – Los Angeles Lakers second round draft pick
Ronny Turiaf underwent successful open-heart surgery.

Turiaf, who had an operation performed on Tuesday at Stanford University
Medical Center to repair an enlarged aortic heart, will miss the entire
2005-06 campaign, if not more. He is expected to make a full recovery as far
as daily activities go, but it is uncertain if he will ever play again.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the procedure, which was performed by Dr.
Craig Miller, lasted nearly six hours. Turiaf will likely remain in the
hospital for at least a week.

Turiaf, who was taken with the 37th overall selection in this past June’s
draft, was recently diagnosed with the condition by team doctors following
extensive testing after he signed a two-year deal which was contingent upon
him passing a physical.

The aortic root is the beginning part of the aorta, which is the body’s
largest artery and carries oxygenated blood to all parts of the body. The
diameter of Turiaf’s aorta was 5.6 centimeters, which was 50 percent larger
than normal.

Doctors told Turiaf that if surgery was not performed there was a 75-percent
chance that the condition could turn fatal within a three-to four-year period.

As a senior with Gonzaga last season, the 6-10 Turiaf was named West Coast
Conference Player of the Year after he averaged 15.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.7
assists and 1.9 blocked shots.

The 22-year-old Turiaf, who grew up in the Caribbean, ranks fourth all-time on
Gonzaga’s all-time scoring (1,723 points) and rebound (859) lists. He also
ranks second in career blocks (179) and finished his collegiate career as
Gonzaga’s all-time leader in free throws made (643).

LAL