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WIZARDS INSIDER

Healing Thomas Eager to Play Again

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By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 19, 2008

Wizards center Etan Thomas, who has been out since undergoing heart surgery on Oct. 11, said he plans to return to the team at some point this season during an interview on the John Thompson radio show yesterday afternoon.

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Thomas was recently cleared for noncontact training (running and shooting drills) and said he is waiting for doctors to clear him before returning to practice with the Wizards. The team has established no timetable for Thomas's return and he has not been cleared to practice.

"Hopefully, I can join my team soon and be able to go through noncontact and then after a little while, go through contact," said Thomas, who recently trained at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. "It just depends on the doctors. I'm a little bit more anxious than they are I guess. They're being a little bit more cautious and that's understandable but I'm ready. I feel ready."

Thomas underwent a procedure that repaired a leak in the aortic valve. The doctor who performed the surgery said the biggest hurdle to Thomas's return to the kind of physical activity related to basketball would be the healing of his sternum, which was broken in order to perform the surgery.

"Right now, they [the Wizards] are listening to the doctors and listening to the specialists and see what they say," Thomas said. "Everything is fine with my heart. My body has reacted great to the surgery. Now they are waiting to do a few more tests to make sure I can take contact to the sternum. . . . I anticipate being cleared to return here shortly."

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