San Antonio Spur forward Sean Elliott was in stable condition Monday after undergoing a kidney transplant, receiving a healthy organ from his brother, Noel.
"The kidney's functioning well," said Dr. Francis Wright, who performed the transplant. "Sean had no problems at all and Noel had no problems."
Sean Elliott, 31, was in the intensive care unit, a routine step, and was expected to move to a regular room today barring any complications, Wright said at a post-surgery news conference at Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital in San Antonio. He could be released next week.
"Everything went just fine," Wright said. "He's beginning to be more alert as the anesthesia wears off."
Doctors did not remove either of Sean's diseased kidneys, Wright said, adding most kidney transplant recipients don't require removal of the original organs unless there is a threat of infection.
"His own kidneys are still functional to some extent in that they are still producing some urine and water volume but are not capable of carrying out the normal filtration functions," Wright said.
Noel Elliott, 32, was in a regular recovery room, Wright said. Urologist Sammy Vick, who removed Noel's left kidney, said he may be able to go home in three to five days.
Wright said Noel matched five of the six antigen markers.
"It should be an extremely good transplant for Sean," Wright said. "His brother is a better-than-average match. . . . That bodes well, in particular, for the long-term results of the transplant."
Doctors have said it will take two to three months before they'll know whether Elliott could try to continue to play basketball, but he has said he hopes to return to the game.
Spur Coach Gregg Popovich said Elliott's possible return isn't uppermost in his teammates' minds at the moment.
"None of us gives a damn about basketball right now," Popovich said. "If he never played another game, as long as he had his health and the rest of his life, that would be fine. We go forward as if he's not going to be playing for us."
Elliott needed a transplant because of a condition that slows the kidneys, preventing them from properly filtering waste from the blood. The cause of the disease--focal segmental glomerular sclerosis--is not clear.
Elliott announced last month, a few weeks after the Spurs won the NBA championship, that he needed a transplant.
He has had kidney problems since June 1993, when he was diagnosed with a kidney infection while with the Detroit Pistons. A trade to the Houston Rockets in 1994 fell through because of a failed physical stemming from the kidney problem.
Had there not been a family match, Elliott would have been placed on a waiting list.
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