Bulls' concern for Curry based on multiple incidents
Posted: Thursday October 13, 2005 3:20PM; Updated: Friday October 14, 2005 3:09PM
The Bulls' desire for Eddy Curry to take a DNA test grew after the center suffered a second heart-related scare last season.
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A lot has been said and written about the Chicago Bulls' decision to trade 22-year-old center Eddy Curry to the New York Knicks amid medical concerns about Curry's heart. But here's something you didn't know: Curry had a second -- and until now unreported -- scare involving his heart during training camp a year ago, according to the Bulls.
"It was during a conditioning drill, and Eddy complained of chest pain and lightheadedness," says Bulls GM JohnPaxson. "We took him to the hospital."
Paxson says that a thorough examination at that time yielded no explanation for Curry's symptoms. The 6-foot-11, 285-pound center went on to average a career-high 16.1 points for the Bulls until March 30, when he complained of symptoms that were diagnosed as heart arrhythmia. "Eddy told our trainer that he had felt the same way two nights earlier during a game against Memphis," says Paxson.
No one realized it then, but Paxson viewed the heavily-publicized incident in March as strike two. He did not dare risk strike three.
Based on the best medical advice the Bulls say they could find, Paxson decided to bench Curry for the remainder of the season, even though Curry surely could have made a pivotal impact on Chicago's six-game loss to Washington in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bulls spent the ensuing three months investigating Curry's health. "Three years ago, Eddy told the Chicago newspapers that his mother had had a mild heart attack," Paxson says. "Later we asked him about it, and he said that no, it wasn't true. Of course, we were not able to [confirm] that kind of information."
Medical experts told Paxson that Curry needed to undergo a DNA test to show whether or not he was predisposed to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the same heart disease that was linked to the tragic deaths of Reggie Lewis and Hank Gathers while they were playing basketball.
"In all likelihood Eddy doesn't have it (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy)," acknowledges Paxson.
But one can understand why Paxson was so cautious about letting Curry wear a Bulls uniform again. Based on last season's scares with Curry, as well as everything he was learning about heart disease, Paxson could not bear the responsibility of permitting Curry to play so long as there was the slightest doubt that playing the game could end his life. Paxson says that he and Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf were in full agreement on this issue: A DNA test showing that Curry was predisposed to a fatal disease, in concert with the two episodes of last season, would have been enough to prohibit Curry from playing for the Bulls again.