NBA: Doctors OK Spurs' Aldridge to return after heart issue

Aldridge (above right, in February 2017) had been indefinitely benched following a minor heart arrhythmia.
Aldridge (above right, in February 2017) had been indefinitely benched following a minor heart arrhythmia.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge was reinstated to the NBA club's lineup on Wednesday (March 15) when doctors approved the move four days after an indefinitely benching following a minor heart arrhythmia.

Aldridge has averaged 17.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.1 blocked shots a game for the Spurs, who have won 11 of their past 12 contests and own the second-best record in the NBA at 52-14, just behind the Golden State Warriors (53-14).

Without Aldridge in the lineup, the Spurs ripped visiting Golden State 107-85 on Saturday and visiting Atlanta 107-99 on Monday. The Spurs host Aldridge's former club, the Portland Trail Blazers, on Wednesday.

Aldridge, 31, had missed the final nine games of the 2007 season after being diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, an abnormality that can cause a rapid heartbeat.

He underwent a procedure to fix the problem and had the same procedure in 2011.

"Thank you to everyone for the prayers and support," Aldridge tweeted. "Y'all helped me through a difficult time and for that I'm very grateful."

After Aldridge's arrhythmia in Oklahoma City last Thursday, the Spurs medical staff led a process that included multiple tests and examinations as well as consultation with numerous experts in the field.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Aldridge has been dealing with issues all season but added his joy at the strong diagnosis.

"He has battled this all year long and nobody knew about it, so being the consumate pro, he was able to do everything that was necessary to bring this to some sort of conclusion and that wasn't easy," said Popovich.

"Throughout the year he has gone through some procedures and done some things that were not pleasant. He has shown a lot of class."