ASHEVILLE â€“ UNC Asheville basketball player Kenny George underwent a partial amputation of his right foot after contracting MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant staph infection, according to ESPN.com.
The Citizen-Times reported Friday that George, a 7-foot-9, 375-pound center who received national attention for his size and play last season, underwent the partial amputation.
The ESPN.com report, citing an unnamed source, said the amputation occured three weeks ago and that George is expected to remain in a Iowa hospital for at least another month.
The senior from Chicago, the nation’s tallest player, has had several surgeries and other procedures after his right foot became infected in August at a summer camp for big men in Las Vegas.
MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact through openings in the skin.
It is difficult to treat and can be life threatening.
â€œThis just breaks our heart,â€ said coach Dave VanderMeulen of Chicago Latin, where George played in high school.
â€œI’ve talked to Kenny, and he’s dealing with what kind of mountain he’s facing and reflecting on what could have been. â€¦ His parents are trying to keep his spirits up, but they are devastated, as any parents would whose child lost part of a limb.â€
UNCA coach Eddie Biedenbach declined to talk about specifics of George’s medical condition but offered a statement based on the probability that George wouldn’t play this season.
â€œThis is a really terrible setback for Kenny,â€ Biedenbach said. â€œHe worked so hard to get into the situation where he could play last year and was working hard to be ready for this season.
â€œTo have basketball taken away from him seemingly isn’t fair.
â€œThere’s much more to Kenny than just basketball. Our thoughts and prayers are with him as he goes on with his life.â€
George, 22, and his parents could not be reached for comment.
George averaged 12.4 points and seven rebounds per game last season while averaging less than 20 minutes per game.
He was named the Big South Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year and blocked 93 shots while also leading the nation in field-goal percentage (.696).
George also became a popular figure on a team that won a school-record 23 games and helped Asheville sell out its final 10 home games. The Bulldogs earned a berth in the National Invitation Tournament and lost in the first round to Ohio State.
*****from the Asheville Citizen-Times on-line source*****