Former Dallas Mavericks player Shawn Bradley was left paralyzed after a biking accident in January, his former team announced Wednesday. The 48-year-old was struck from behind by a car while riding his bike near his home in St. George, Utah, the Mavericks said.
The accident caused a traumatic spinal cord injury and Bradley underwent neck fusion surgery. He has spent eight weeks in the hospital and undergoing rehab.
The former center — who stands 7 feet, 6 inches tall — played 14 seasons in the NBA. He had not previously released any details about the accident. According to the Mavericks' statement, he does not plan to issue any more public updates.
"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."
"We are deeply saddened to hear of Shawn's injury and our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family," Dallas Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson said in a statement. "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."
Doctors have advised Bradley that the road to recovery will be "long and arduous, perhaps an even more difficult physical challenge than playing professional basketball," according to a statement. "His very strong sense of faith is being tested, as he participate in grueling physical therapy and learns how to cope with the challenges of paraplegia," the statement read.
Bradley, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, worked as a missionary in Australia for two years. He was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers as the number two pick in the 1993 NBA draft. He also had a role in the 1996 film "Space Jam" alongside Michael Jordan.
Bradley retired in 2005 and became a counselor at a private school for at-risk youth in West Jordan, Utah, according to CBS Sports.
"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," the Mavericks' statement read. "He plans to use his accident as a platform to bring greater public awareness to the importance of bicycle safety."
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