Festus Ezeli is taking quite the unique step to get back on an NBA court.
The Portland Trail Blazers center is expected to undergo season-ending knee surgery next week, which isn’t too surprising. What is surprising, though, is that Ezeli’s surgery will involve the use of a cadaver donor, ESPN.com’s Chris Haynes reported Saturday, citing league sources.
Ezeli had been seeking a donor for months and finally found a match in a cadaver, per Haynes’ sources, which allowed doctors to schedule his surgery.
Receiving a body part from a corpse for use in surgery is a rare step for the 27-year-old big man, but it’s not unprecedented in the realm of sports. NFL quarterback Carson Palmer revived his career with the help of a cadaver donor in 2006. After tearing his ACL and MCL during a playoff game, Palmer, then with the Cincinnati Bengals, received a ligament from a woman who had been killed in a drunk driving accident at age 44 just 22 months earlier.
Ezeli’s timetable for a recovery is unclear, but he could miss up to a year, a source told Haynes. He has yet to play a game for the Blazers since leaving the Golden State Warriors in free agency this summer to sign with Portland.
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