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Etan update

I spoke with a cardiac specialist with a background in aortic valve surgery and wrote about it in detail for tomorrow's paper. While the specialist (Dr. Ammar Bofi of the Washington Hospital Center) didn't want to get into too much detail about Etan Thomas is facing because he doesn't have first-hand knowledge of his specific situation, he did say that Thomas will be able to live full and healthy life if all goes well with the procedure.

However, he more than likely will miss the entire season. Two athletes who have undergone aortic valve surgeries were able to keep playing: former SF 49ers OL Jesse Sopolu and current Lakers F Ronny Turiaf.

By Ivan Carter  |  October 10, 2007; 8:38 PM ET
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"...he did say that Thomas will be able to live full and healthy life if all goes well with the procedure."

That's all that matters at this point.

Thanks Ivan. :)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | October 10, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Let's hope and pray that Etan comes through and the surgery is successful. Basketball is the last think he and his family should be worrying about right now.

Posted by: Rook | October 10, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Ivan, thanks for the update. If you know where we can send get well cards, please share.

Posted by: Lisa | October 10, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Best wishes, Etan. We're all rooting for you to get well soon.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 10, 2007 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Best wishes to The Poet.

I have to say though, there may be less tension on the team without him. Who knows...maybe Brenda will show up.

I also predict that Etan retires and goes on to pursue the things he has always cared more about than basketball. He seems like a good person.

Posted by: ct fan | October 10, 2007 11:48 PM | Report abuse

What a shame for Etan. May God be with you.

Posted by: George Templeton | October 11, 2007 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Best wishes, Etan. Just focus on getting better - us Wizards fans will wait to watch you rule on the court when you get back.

Posted by: Washington Ball | October 11, 2007 12:57 AM | Report abuse

All the best & prayers to a great human being. Get well soon & take easy.

Posted by: Victor | October 11, 2007 1:44 AM | Report abuse

There is more to life than our J-O-B-S, no matter what our J-O-B. God has individual ways to remind us of that. I'm glad this was caught now, while his is amongst the living. Whatever ET's choice after the surgery we will support. Right now our thoughts and prayers go to him his blood family and his Wizards family. We will PREVAIL!

Posted by: Delmar | October 11, 2007 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Great to hear he'll be ok. That said, we're a better team without him. EJ just lost his crutch at the C position. Hopefully, BH finally shuts up the haters that keep referring to him as 'Brenda'. He may not be a star but he's the best C we have. I completely understand the fan reaction to Kwame for fumbling the ball every other play (I was one of the people booing) but BH's play usually gets decent results. Yeah, he's a 7 ft. below average rebounder who shoots fadeaway jumpers and occasionally sulks but can you blame him? He gets pulled for Etan every time he drops a rebound or fails to block a guy out. Not many 4 year starters get that in the league. Hopefully now EJ makes a full time commitment to BH. If he fails, get rid of him next year. At least give him starter minutes and see what happens.

Posted by: mark | October 11, 2007 7:36 AM | Report abuse

I tend to be optimistic, so I was kind of happy to hear about this surgery. It could have been worse, and it sounds like Etan might have a good chance to return to the court in a year.
This year might even give Etan an opportunity. It sounds like after he recovers from the surgery, he will be able to move around a bit, but certainly not train like a professional athlete. I've always thought that if Etan could hit a 10 or 12 footer with regularity, he could be a completely different player (e.g., Kurt Thomas). So during those months when he can walk around but not really run, why not work with Coach Hopla on shooting? I'm sure Etan will be itching to get to work, so maybe that's a good way to improve while staying within the limits of what his body can do.
I do hope we'll see Etan on the bench during the season cheering the fellas on. (Although Eddie will still probably be tempted to pull Brendan and put Etan in.)

Posted by: Sean | October 11, 2007 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Get well soon Etan. I just lifted your situation up in prayer. May the Lord bless and heal you in your time of need.

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | October 11, 2007 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Get well soon Etan. I just lifted your situation up in prayer. May the Lord bless and heal you in your time of need.

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | October 11, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse

sorry, two typo's..

Posted by: Bullets Fever #1 | October 11, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Ivan for the update on Etan. I will pray for him to have a sucessful surgery and a speedy recovery. Get well soon Etan.

Posted by: Lady Wizz | October 11, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

While it is clear that some folks truly want to see a healthy Etat soon, others should simply not post their insensitive remarks. For example, "That said, we're a better team without him. EJ just lost his crutch at the C position." While you are well within your rights to this opinion, perhaps manners may dictate that you send it in response to a basketball related post and not one discussing the very serious surgery that may determine his career and in deed life or death.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

God be with you Etan! You're in our thoughts!

Posted by: Zonker | October 11, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Thank you anon 9:29 AM. I was about to make the same point. Let's all hope and pray that Etan has a successful surgery and speedy recovery

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Any news about the where and who (doctor side) regarding the surgery?

Get well, ET. Do NOT phone home!

Posted by: bethesduh | October 11, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

.....Precisely why I led off with the sentiment that I'm glad he's ok. I wasn't aware that this blog entry was just for 'get well' cards. No offense meant to Etan. I just happen to think we're gonna function better without him. It was more a statement about EJ than Etan. One thing I'm very pleased to see is that you posted your opinion without the need to be rude. We disagree but remain respectful. Cool. I guess my perspective is that while it's a serious operation, his condition is not life threatening unless he continues to overexert himself. It's not as serious a condition as Reggie Lewis or Hank Gaithers had based on what I've read. The dude is a multimillionaire and the worst case scenario is that he takes his $20 mill (that's what's left on his contract) and lives happily ever after but has to give up professional sports. Not a bad life. But that's just my opinion.

Posted by: mark | October 11, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

BTW, I based what I said on this excerpt from an ESPN article...
"Dr. Ammar Bafi, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Washington Hospital Center and an expert on the procedure, said the operation isn't career-ending for most people.

"It's life-threatening if it isn't fixed. It's life-threatening if it progresses and goes on for a number of years, Bafi said."

Anyway, hopefully he'll be back with us next year fully healthy.

Posted by: mark | October 11, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Best wishes to Etan, my thoughts and prayers are certainly with you and a full, healthy recovery. That being said, I'm COMPLETELY on board with Mark's terms of the Wizards, this injury, and I feel guilty saying this, is one of the better things that could have happened. This fully makes Brenda the man, or,...the woman, and he can re-claim that "n" on the end of it's name. I think Haywood can do some damage, and I also thinks this re-shapes the roster in a positive way.

Another thought that seems insensitive given the circumstances, but I'm going to mention anyway: If Etan does retire, won't his salary cap figure come off our books? Isn't there something about insurance paying 80% or so of a salary?

Posted by: RichBoy | October 11, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Scene -- Hospital.
Man watches wife wheeled into surgery. Mark approaches man.

Mark: "That's tough, buddy. But if it doesn't work out, it'll be for the best. She was a real downer. And now we'll get to hang out more, just like old times."

Posted by: Sean | October 11, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

To Sean ... the Hospital scene ... Seems like you nailed it on the head.

Get well Etan. Heart surgery is no joke, regardless of how routine it may be. My prayers are with you.

Basketball just doesn't matter right now.

Posted by: 2cents4wiz | October 11, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Sean, LOL. If I came across as cold, I didn't mean to. It always appeared to me that BBall was just the means to an end and that Etan had MANY things in his life that were more important. I don't know him personally but I can imagine that this if his career were to end today, he'd be very busy and very happy. OK here goes..." Get well, Etan. Ball means nothing. This is infinitely more important". Political correctness wins out again.

Posted by: mark | October 11, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you, Mark. Your opinion is entitled and I don't feel that it diminishes your well wishes for Etan.

Posted by: RichBoy | October 11, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Well isn't that just great....Now we have to deal with a whole season of BRENDA getting regular mintues in the paint. We are going to have no Defense once again and get out rebounded every game

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Well the only good thing i see coming out of this is all the BRENDA lovers will finally be silenced. Once you see how terrible he is even with the regular minutes everyone will finally zip it once and for all about BRENDA being any good.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a Brenda(n) lover. I just dont see why we hear the same thing every summer. "Etan and Brendan are going to compete for the starting spot". How many years does it take EJ to see who should be starting? Pick one and stick with him for 40 minutes a game. Like I've posted in the past, google "Brendan Haywood and draftnet" and take a look at his strengths and weaknesses coming out of NC. He was NEVER a great rebounder. Why expect greatness out of him now? He'll never be a 12 rebound a game guy. But, if we give him 35-40 minutes a game, I would be willing to wager that he gives us 8-9ppg, 8-9 rebounds and solid D. On our team, that's good enough.

Posted by: mark | October 11, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Mark and others,

Like I said, you are entitled to your opinion and in expressing them. That does not make you right. It is a question of manners and simple right and wrong. Notwithstanding Ivan's story HE (OR HIS DOCTOR FRIEND FOR THAT MATTER) DOES NOT KNOW ANYMORE THAN THE WIZ RELEASED ABOUT ETAN'S PROGNOSIS OR THE SERIOUSNESS OF HIS PARTICULAR SITUATION. HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT IT IS ROUTINE. I would go to war for your right to express your opinion, however; your actions here simply lack class and manners. Ask yourself if you would express your comments to Etan if you happen upon him in the hospital next week. Btw, since when did heart surgery become routine. Folks, it just seems to me that your basketball comments can wait until another story that deals with that subject. Starting your post with best wishes that are obliterated by the middle and end of the post do not redeem its value. Mark, I do not believe you are a bad person or that I am better...I am just saying that your actions here represent a lack of manners.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Mark and RichBoy,

I am with you. Don't get me wrong - I have nothing but love for Etan - I hope he goes on to become a world famous poet. Now Brendan has no excuse.

My question is this, if Etan is out for the season, do the wizards get a salary cap exemption? If so do we sign C-Webb.

Last time he came around he expressed some regret about the way he was here and some longing to rejoin the team. If we can get him cheap, I think his leadership and experience would bring a lot to this squad.


Posted by: Joe | October 11, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

My thought is that you need to get a life. He is not even out of surgery but you have his career over etc.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

The sad fact of political correctness is that it now gives the impolite, racist, prejudice, sexist, and others etc. the much desired pass to say whatever they want without appropriate criticism (right or wrong) and/or being called upon to review their statements for accuracy.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Just a reminder it, it is a BASKETBALL blog. Mark and Richboy have every right to analyze the effects this will have on the team. It's not like they're wishing ill on him, they're just looking at the loss of ET from a team standpoint, and speaking as realists.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Good Luck Etan.

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | October 11, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I stand by my comments. Looking at the ESPN article, the renowned specialst says that it is CAREER threatening but not LIFE threatening. I have no reason to feel sorry for a guy whose career might be over. This is different from Mourning and Elliot's kidney surgeries. They were life threatening and I felt genuinely concerned for their health. Also, I never meant to imply that his career was over. IF it were over, he'd do well since he seems to have a full life outside of ball. Anon keeps saying I have no manners. I respect your opinion. We'll just have to agree to disagree. As for C-Webb, please don't jinx us, Joe. I can't think of any major holes in this team's game, presuming Gil is healthy and we attempt to play D like we showed this week. Rebounding is a bit of a concern but we don't need a 1 legged center with no lateral movement. One last thing....I hate to bring this up yet again, but JCN looked really good the other night. I watched his game and he shoots like Mark Price. Granted, he's not nearly as good in other phases but he can light it up from outside. Maybe I should make that Brent Price.

Posted by: mark | October 11, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

From a purely bball standpoint, getting a healthy Etan back next year can only make us better. It'll be like adding a veteran player to a good team. Assuming Eddie sets a solid rotation this year, Etan should be able to step in and give us very productive bench minutes. Imagine the lineup possibilities in 2008 if Blatche and Songaila have experience at the 5 along with Etan. It would never happen if Etan is playing this year. EJ would still be going back and forth between ET and BTH based on how many rebounds Haywood misses per game. Joe does raise a legitimate question. How does our cap for this year get affected if ET is out? Of course, it's not like there are players out there that we want but can't get because of his contract. (and please don't mention Sideshow Bob Varejao)

Posted by: mark | October 11, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Whats with all these Brenda comments, he's obviously is a man. I would think anyone who calls him that isn't a man. Anyway back to basketball, we need a back-up center. Aundray B. is not physically strong enough to last the season as the main back-up. Chris Webber, P.J. Brown, and possibly M. Sweetney are probably the best available back-ups. What do you think?

Posted by: DMcCall2 | October 11, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

My prayers and thoughts are with you Etan. Please get well soon and take good care. Wash.DC

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

DMcCall2, I think the way basketball has changed in the last decade, the old school center may be obsolete soon. I think PF IS the big man these days. Blatche is only 235 lbs so he's still light in the arse but should be able to handle 15 minutes a game at C. He'll be playing against the other team's backup C plus no one plays man to man with no help in the post anymore anyway. Remember, PJ, Brown and Webber all played PF when they started out. I have more faith in Blatche than Jordan's other backup center (Songaila). plus the added benefit is that other centers have to match up with him on D. He's too quick for most.

Posted by: mark | October 11, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

"Chris Webber, P.J. Brown, and possibly M. Sweetney are probably the best available back-ups. What do you think?

Webber and Brown are old and well out of their primes, Sweetney (A) is a PF not an NBA C and (B) seems to have absolutely zero ability to keep his weight down and maintain game shame well enough to be a contributor.

No thanks to all.

Posted by: kalorama | October 11, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"I'm with you, Mark. Your opinion is entitled and I don't feel that it diminishes your well wishes for Etan."


And for the posters who are too cowardly to post a handle and try and incite something, you are being ignored.

This isn't about basketball at this point.

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | October 11, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I would take PJ Brown over T Mass, but it makes you wonder did EG knew something and that's why he tried to trade Thomas over Haywood. EJ was having probelms with Haywood, but Thomas was on the trading block. Haywood salarie would have been easier to move and EJ like Thomas but EG was still trying to trade Thomas

Posted by: Rock Star | October 11, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Any word yet on Etan's surgery and whether it was successful?

Posted by: John Brisker | October 11, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Etan did have the surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. It has been reported that the Wizards will probably offer more details on Friday after consulting with Thomas' doctor.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

The fact that the Wizards haven't posted any information on their website about Etan's surgery is absolutely unbelievable. They spend all this time marketing their players, trying to get fans to care about their players, and then when something serious happens to one of them, they don't bother to provide any information to the fans. They pulled this same crap when Jarvis Hayes had that wicked fall last season -- they provided no information. I'm sure there are a lot of questions still unanswered about Etan, but they could post the information they do have -- that Etan is out of surgery, that he is in recovery, etc.
The more things change in this organization's front office, the more they stay the same.

Posted by: The Front Office Sucks | October 11, 2007 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I feel so bad for Etan. I hope he will be ok. He has always been one of my favorite players since we got him in the Juwan Howard trade. I remember his first training camp he had a blog going on the Wizard's site, the first time I remember a player doing that, with daily updates of what he was going through, and he talked alot about going up against Jahidi White and how strong he was. He will be really missed on this team. We really need what he brings, his toughness and strength in the paint, his attitude and agressiveness. Especially not having Booth or Ruffin around anymore, we are really going to miss him.

As far as what we do from here. It does provide a huge opportunity for Blatche. It opens up a role for him, and virtually guarantees him good minutes. He is now the #2 guy behind Haywood, and Haywood is the starter who plays the least minutes. And he wasn't hittin his shots, but I liked what I saw of Pesh against the Cavs. He has good size, all around skills, and has a feel for the game.

As far as that game, the 2 guys I was most impressed with was Blatche and McGuire. McGuire looked solid on D, was able to utilize his athleticism, looked good handling the ball, attacking the basket, blocking shots, rebounding, and even hit a nice 3 pointer. I'd really like to see us use DMac at the 2, as a Jeffries type of versatile defender. His game is a perfect compliment to the big 3, and his size at sg helps to balance an undersized frontcourt (Haywood, Jamison, Butler) where he can help on the boards and help defense. This move also would open a spot in the frontcourt off the bench for Pesh. I like a 2nd unit of Blatche, Songaila, Pesh, Stevenson, Daniels.

Posted by: Darnell | October 11, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

In defense of Haywood, this fro mtoday's Post....After averaging a career-high 27.4 minutes per game during the 2004-05 season, during which he posted career-best averages of 9.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks, Haywood averaged 23.8 minutes in 2005-06 and 22.6 minutes last season." I really think he can get us 13 and 9 if we give him 38 minutes a game. That would be more than enough.

Posted by: mark | October 12, 2007 7:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to have to agree somewhat with the poster above. At this point I'm really hoping that the Wizards' front office is just being inept.
If the surgery went well, the silence from the Wizards, citing privacy concerns for Etan's family, doesn't make sense. I'm sure Etan has a lot of friends and family, so if things went well, wouldn't the family want to get word out that he had the surgery, and he's alive and recovering? Otherwise, the family has to call every family member and friend with that news. Issuing a brief statement like they do after every athlete has surgery would be a heck of a lot easier.
Thus, either there is incompetence going on here, or things did not go well and the family wants time to contact family and friends with the news before a press report goes out. (Not to be morbid, but we don't even know whether Etan is alive at this point.)
Here's hoping for incompetence.

Posted by: Henry | October 12, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

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