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Hurley Has Surgery After Crash : Pro basketball: He is serious but stable. Doctors say it is too early to tell whether Sacramento rookie can continue career.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Rookie guard Bobby Hurley of the Sacramento Kings was listed in serious but stable condition after undergoing eight hours of surgery Monday morning.

Hurley had been injured in a traffic accident after Sunday night’s Clipper-King game at Arco Arena.

He suffered two collapsed lungs and his left lung was separated from his windpipe, which surgeons reattached. He also had several broken ribs, a compression fracture of the back, and wrist and knee injuries.

Doctors at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento said it was too soon to determine if Hurley, the seventh player selected in the 1993 NBA draft, would play again.

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“I do not think it’s right to speculate right now on his eventual return to professional sports,” Richard Marder, the Kings’ team physician, said at a news conference. “We’re concerned with saving his life.

“The injury wasn’t just a collapse of the lung. He actually had a separation of the lung tissue itself from the (windpipe). And it had to be surgically reattached.”

Marder said the next four or five days would be crucial. “The feeling is that over the next few days, events may occur that may result in dramatic improvements or could require more surgery.”

Hurley, who is breathing with the help of a ventilator in the intensive-care unit, will be closely monitored to ensure that fluid doesn’t build up in his lungs.

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“After a severe injury, there is fluid that accumulates in the lungs and it can be very difficult to breathe,” Marder said.

There also is risk of infection.

Although initial reports indicated that Hurley had suffered internal head injuries when he was thrown from his sport-utility vehicle, doctors said he had not suffered a major head trauma.

“That is, in a way, miraculous--being ejected from a vehicle not to sustain significant head injury, brain injury or significant spinal cord injury,” Marder said.

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Hurley’s parents, Bob and Chris, flew to Sacramento from their home in Jersey City, N.J., but were not at the news conference.

Marder, an orthopedic surgeon, said Hurley’s wrist and knee injuries would not preclude him from playing again, provided he regains full pulmonary functions.

“He does have some (torn) knee ligaments, but in my estimation, I do not think they would preclude him from playing even if they required surgery,” Marder said, adding that the knee and wrist injuries would be more fully evaluated later.

The accident occurred about an hour after the Clippers had beaten the Kings, 112-102, and only about a mile from the arena.

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Police Lt. Rich Braziel said that Hurley came to a stop sign and was making a left turn when his vehicle was struck on the driver’s side by a station wagon. The station wagon allegedly did not have its headlights on and was traveling at a high rate of speed. Hurley’s vehicle, which lost its left front wheel and part of the axle, was knocked 75-100 feet, Braziel said.

The driver of the other vehicle, identified as Daniel Wieland, 37, of Sacramento, suffered a broken leg and was in fair condition after undergoing surgery Monday morning, said Linda D. King, a hospital spokeswoman.

Police Detective Chuck Barham said that Wieland was driving with an expired license and without headlights, but said it has not been determined whether charges will be filed.

Barham said police were still awaiting blood test results to determine if alcohol or drugs were involved in the crash, but that he didn’t believe either was a factor.

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Hurley, who was thrown into a drainage canal next to a field, was not using his seat belt, police said.

“It’s hard to speculate, but (if Hurley had been using a seat belt) certainly he wouldn’t be ejected from the vehicle,” Marder said. “The tearing of the windpipe from the lung is the definite result of the type of injury that would have happened when he was ejected.”

Hurley, who set the NCAA career record for assists while helping Duke to consecutive national championships, was the Kings’ top draft pick last June and had started all 19 games this season, averaging 7.1 points and 6.1 assists.

Before Sunday’s game, Hurley met with Clipper rookie guard Terry Dehere, who had played with him in Jersey City at St. Anthony High on a team coached by Hurley’s father.

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“My thoughts and prayers are with Bobby Hurley and his family,” Dehere said in a statement released by the Clippers. “Bobby is not only a great person, but a great competitor, both on and off the basketball court. I’m confident that he’ll overcome this setback and return to the court again soon.”


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