Festus Ezeli Reportedly Will Have Rare Surgery Involving Cadaver Donor


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.

Thumbnail photo via Craig Mitchelldyer/USA TODAY Sports Images

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