Thursday, November 02, 2006

'I'll spot you an open-heart surgery...

...and still expose your front office as total incompetents.'

Or so, the 2005 second round draft choice of the Los Angeles Lakers could have said been saying to the Seattle Supersonics who passed on him to pick, in the first round, his French National Team colleague Johan Petro--16 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds in his NBA opener--when they could have been getting nights like this:

Ronny Turiaf showed spark underneath the basket, nailing career-highs with 23 points and nine rebounds in only his 25th NBA game.

....A year ago, Turiaf was coming back from open-heart surgery, plowing through one hurdle after another, the largest being an enlarged aortic root that left him shaken to the point of telling reporters he was "scared of dying" a couple days before he had surgery in July 2005.

....He successfully came back from that, no small accomplishment in its own, but then had to prove his way in the CBA and fight visa problems — he is a French citizen — before finally playing for the Lakers on Feb. 8.

The 37th pick in the 2005 draft, he picked up on Wednesday where Andrew Bynum left off Tuesday against Phoenix, making eight of 10 shots and providing a timely lift.

"It's a blessing just to be part of this, to be part of something," said Turiaf, 23, who still must wear a pad made of foam and plastic to protect his sternum. "Last year was tough at this time, lying down in my bed and not able to move."

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