Sidney Wicks, former UCLA and National Basketball Assn. forward, suffered a ruptured spleen Friday morning after a cement truck apparently went through a red light at a Mira Mesa intersection and plowed into Wicks’ car, police said.
After the 9 a.m. accident, Wicks, 39, who played for Portland, Boston and San Diego in the NBA, underwent three hours of surgery at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla to have his spleen removed, hospital spokeswoman Lynn Morra said.
Wicks also suffered facial cuts and minor head injuries. He remained in serious but stable condition Friday night and was expected to recover fully, Morra said. A passenger in Wicks’ car, 34-year-old Jeffrey Neal Brown of Poway, whom Wicks had been visiting, suffered a mild concussion and facial cuts, police said. Brown was treated at Scripps Memorial and released.
Wicks was making a left turn at the intersection when the loaded cement truck crashed into the driver’s-side door of his 1974 Cadillac, police said.
Two witnesses told police that the truck, driven by Harry Arthur Auman, 30, hit Wicks’ car after failing to stop for a red light, according to police spokesman Bill Robinson. Robinson said Auman had not been cited but that the investigation was continuing. Auman was not injured.
The 6-foot-9 Wicks played for Coach John Wooden at UCLA and was a member of the school’s NCAA championship teams in 1969, ’70 and ’71. He averaged 21.3 points and 12.7 rebounds a game in his senior year.
He is the Bruins’ No. 8 all-time leading scorer and the school’s No. 6 all-time rebounder. He was a volunteer assistant coach during Walt Hazzard’s tenure as coach at UCLA but did not return last season.
Wicks was the No. 1 draft pick of the Portland Trail Blazers and was voted NBA rookie of the year in 1972, when he averaged 24.5 points. He averaged 21 points during the first four seasons of his 10-year NBA career.
In 1976, Wicks was sold to the Boston Celtics. He finished his career with the San Diego Clippers.