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THE DAY IN SPORTS

Olson had stroke in last year

October 29, 2008|wire reports

Lute Olson's doctor said Tuesday that the former Arizona basketball coach had a stroke within the last year and he advised him to retire.

The comments by Dr. Steven Knope at a news conference called by Olson's family offer the first explanation for Olson's sudden retirement last week, two days after he appeared at the Wildcats' media day.

Olson said at the time he was energized and looking forward to his 25th season with Arizona.

Knope said an MRI exam confirmed the stroke in the frontal part of Olson's brain, which left the Hall of Famer with severe depression and impaired judgment.

"This is a rather cruel twist of fate," Knope said at a McKale Center news conference attended by two of Olson's daughters.

"He is quite literally devastated," Knope said. "He was doing great over the summer and very much wanted to fulfill his obligation to the community and the university."

Knope said Olson is resting at home and is on a blood thinner, and he's optimistic Olson will recover.

Knope said he had treated Olson for depression in the last year, during which Olson went through a contentious divorce from his second wife, Christine.

Knope said he ordered the MRI on Monday after Olson did not respond to recent treatment for depression.

"Unlike a typical stroke that you may imagine where someone is unable to walk or talk or move a limb, this stroke occurred in a part of the brain where much of his intellectual function and his motor function was perfectly normal," Knope said. "So it wasn't quite apparent."

PRO BASKETBALL

Details emerge in Thomas case

Officers in White Plains, N.Y., who responded to Isiah Thomas' home after a 911 call reporting an overdose on sleeping pills found a man passed out on the floor and gave him oxygen until an ambulance arrived.

Authorities have not publicly identified Thomas as the victim, but a person familiar with the case has confirmed it was the former New York Knicks coach and NBA star.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity to the Associated Press because of privacy concerns.

Thomas has denied being the victim, and Harrison Police Chief David Hall again criticized the ex-coach for saying it was his 17-year-old daughter, Lauren, who required treatment.

Thomas' spokesman, Jesse Derris, said, "This continues to be a private family matter and the family respectfully asks for privacy."

Some of the latest details about the Thomas case were first reported by Newsday.

Hall said the 911 call made late Thursday from Thomas' multimillion-dollar home in the Purchase section of Harrison went first to state police, then to Harrison.

Harrison police on patrol nearby got to the scene first, saw a 47-year-old man on the floor and went into "standard operating procedure," Hall said.

They administered oxygen until an ambulance crew arrived and took over, eventually lifting the man onto a gurney and taking him to White Plains Hospital.

GOLF

San Jacinto lands Nationwide event

The Nationwide Tour, which held a professional golf event in the Inland Empire from 1994 to 2007, will return to Southern California in 2009 at the Country Club at Soboba Springs in San Jacinto. The tournament will be played in the fall and be one of only three on the 2009 Nationwide calendar with a purse of $1 million.

The specific date was not released.

The Nationwide Tour last was played in the Southland in 2007 at Empire Lakes in Rancho Cucamonga as the Mark Christopher Charity Classic but fell prey to lack of sponsorship. Winner of the 2009 event will make $180,000.

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Compton given PGA exemption

Erik Compton, who advanced through the first stage of PGA Tour qualifying just five months after his second heart transplant, was given an exemption to play the final tour event of the year.

Compton, 28, received one of four sponsor exemptions to the Children's Miracle Network Classic at Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Nov. 6-9.

It will be his first PGA Tour event in three years.

ETC.

Maradona offered job as coach

Diego Maradona declined to say whether he accepted an offer to coach Argentina. Maradona and Carlos Bilardo were asked to lead the national team by Julio Grondona, head of the Argentine Football Association. Maradona would be the coach and Bilardo the general director. . . . New England Revolution forward Taylor Twellman is out indefinitely because of problems related to a concussion he sustained in August. . . . The expansion Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer signed former Arsenal standout Freddie Ljungberg after the Swedish midfielder spent the last 10 seasons in the English Premiere League. . . . Andy Roddick and Juan Martin del Potro boosted their chances of qualifying for next month's Masters Cup by winning their second-round matches in straight sets at the Paris Masters. . . . Roger Federer announced he would play Davis Cup for Switzerland against the United States next March. The World Group first-round series will be played March 6-8 in the U.S.

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