Ex-NBA player paralyzed in bicycle crash

Former NBA center Shawn Bradley is paralyzed after he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bike on Jan. 20 near his home in St. George...

Former NBA center Shawn Bradley is paralyzed after he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bike on Jan. 20 near his home in St. George, Utah, the Dallas Mavericks said in a statement on Wednesday.

He sustained a traumatic spinal cord injury, and after neck fusion surgery, he has spent the past eight weeks in the hospital and undergoing rehab.

“Doctors have advised him that his road to recovery will be both long and arduous, perhaps an even more difficult physical challenge than playing professional basketball,” the statement said.

“With his wife Carrie at his side around the clock, and supported by an amazing team of rehabilitation specialists and family, Bradley is in good spirits. He plans to use his accident as a platform to bring greater public awareness to the importance of bicycle safety.

Bradley with the Mavericks in 2003.

“Bradley asked to convey his deep appreciation for the outpouring of well wishes and prayers he has received from family, friends and fans. Their support has energized his recovery and bolstered his confidence that he will manage the long process ahead successfully. He does not plan to issue further public updates, preferring to devote his full concentration on his rehabilitation.”

Bradley, who turns 49 on March 22, was a block from his home at the time of the incident, the statement said.

The 7-foot-6 Bradley spent 12 seasons in the NBA and played for three teams – Dallas, New Jersey and Philadelphia, which drafted him with the No. 2 overall pick in the 1993 draft.

Bradley played college basketball Brigham Young. He was with the Mavericks for eight-plus seasons, and in 1996-97, Bradley averaged 13.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and a league-best 3.4 blocks.

“We are saddened to hear of Shawn’s accident,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in a statement. “Shawn has always been incredibly determined and shown a fighting spirit. We wish him nothing but the best in his recovery. He will always be a part of our Mavs family.”

Mavs executive Donnie Nelson said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of Shawn’s injury and our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family. In his eight-plus seasons in Dallas, Shawn demonstrated all of the qualities you want in a person representing your organization. He has always exhibited unwavering grit and determination and we are thinking of him at this difficult time. He is a Maverick for life.”

The statement said Bradley does not play to “to issue further public updates, preferring to devote his full concentration on his rehabilitation.”

Bradley became an avid cyclist after he gained weight following his playing career. He told The Associated Press he lost 30 pounds after he started biking.

“It’s changed my body (composition) and when I ride the bike in the morning, I want to eat healthy the rest of the day. It’s a mental game I play with myself,” he told the AP in 2011.

He once had his custom-built 10,000 Trek bicycle stolen from his home. It was later recovered.

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