Al Jefferson's season started strong, as he was averaging 11.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game before his emergency surgery.Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty
By Peter F. Stringer
November 14, 2006
WALTHAM - Al Jefferson spent most of his offseason trying to drop weight. But after an emergency appendectomy last week, Jefferson is just starting to eat solid foods again and trying to put the 10 pounds he lost back on.
"That's scary, man. Last year around this time I would've killed to be 250. I haven't been 250 since ninth grade," Jefferson laughed.
But what started out as a self-diagnosed "stomach ache" turned out to be no laughing matter once trainer Ed Lacerte examined Jefferson upon his arrival in Waltham that day when Jefferson could barely stand up.
"I woke up with a sharp pain in my stomach and I thought it was a normal stomach ache," said Jefferson, clad in a blue a dark blue sweatsuit and looking a little more svelte than usual. "When [Lacerte] started pressing down where my appendix was it was like mad pain. He said 'let's just go to the hospital and get it checked out.'"
Jefferson, who watched his teammates practice on Tuesday at the Sports Authority Training Canter at HealthPoint in Waltham, hopes to start working out again at the end of the week. He says that because doctors were able to operate on him with a scope rather than having to cut him open, his recovery time should be accelerated and the initial 4-6 weeks estimate he read in the papers about himself are no longer accurate.
If Jefferson's own projections hold up, he could be back in uniform for the November 22 tilt in Charlotte against the Bobcats. Jefferson said he never believed the initial prognosis that called for him to miss six weeks.
"If everything works the way I plan, I'm looking to get a practice in next week on Monday or Tuesday and hope to be playing by midweek," said Jefferson, who spent his time at home getting some rest and eating chicken noodle soup, jello and pudding until he got clearance to return to eating solid foods on Monday. "I never believed it was going to be six weeks."
Jefferson could use a little luck in the health department after ankle injuries eradicated his season last year, and his appendix scare could have cost him the year this time had Lacerte not taken the precaution of getting him to the hospital.
So when will Jefferson, who was averaging 11.3 PPG and 7 RPG in three games before the surgery, catch a break for once?
"It's kind of frustrating, but this was a life and death situation. I was playing well, and things were getting together for me and the team, but this happened," said Jefferson. "One good thing about it is that it's not going to have me out a long time. I missed up to like two months with the ankle, and it will be two and half weeks with this. I'm looking forward to getting back."