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Newz Forum: BASKETBALL: Mourning takes it easy in first practice with transplanted kidney

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posted on Oct, 6 2004 @ 09:31 PM
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Alonzo Mourning wasn't ready Tuesday to put too much strain on his body, and the New Jersey Nets weren't rushing Mourning along in his attempt to become the second NBA player to return after a kidney transplant.

Mourning lifted weights, shot around and did stretching exercises on the Nets' first day of training camp but did not participate in contact drills.

"I'm not going to get it all back in one week," Mourning said. "I've got to read my body, and I've got to be smart about this. I want to live another 50 years, that's the most important thing here."

Mourning underwent transplant surgery 10 months ago, receiving a kidney donated by a cousin he hadn't seen since childhood, James Cooper. Mourning was diagnosed in 2000 with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, which ultimately forced him to leave the Nets last November after a comeback attempt.

Mourning still feels side effects from the anti-rejection medication he is taking, but he's much less fatigued than he was a year ago when he reported for training camp after signing a four-year contract with the Nets.

He has been in contact with Sean Elliott, who returned to the San Antonio Spurs after undergoing a kidney transplant in 1999, and is considering wearing the same type of protective padding around his abdomen that Elliott wore.

"The hardest part for him I've pretty much gone through already, and that's recovering from the surgery," said Mourning, who was unsure whether he'd play in any preseason games.

Coach Lawrence Frank said the team was awaiting clearance from its medical and training staffs before allowing Mourning to take part in a full practice.

From an enthusiasm standpoint, however, Mourning was more than ready.

"We had an 8 a.m. breakfast meeting, and at 8:22 he was in here shooting," Frank said. "The guy, I tell you, he's made out of a different thing. He doesn't bleed red. His will, his resolve, he's a special guy."

Mourning said he had no regrets about signing a year ago with New Jersey, which has since undergone an ownership change and a series of cost-cutting moves that included the departure of starters Kenyon Martin and Kerry Kittles and key reserves Lucious Harris and Rodney Rogers.

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