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Sean Elliott clears the air, seeks advice on kidney ailment

NOTE: Along the way column

Sean Elliott could play right now. Sean Elliott is not able to play.

He only needs medication.

He needs extensive treatment and complete rest.

He’ll be fine in six weeks. It’ll take four months.

Sean Elliott is confused, and understandably so.

That’s why he’s back home in Tucson, presenting his case to a team of medical experts who have no vested interest in the National Basketball Association.

Elliott has a kidney problem, and “functions are off just a little bit,’ he said at a press conference yesterday.

“I’m not here for a second opinion – it’s more like five or 10 opinions,’ the once and future Detroit Pistons forward added.

“We’re going to find out exactly what’s wrong and decide on a course of action.

“I’m not going back until I can pass any NBA physical.’

Doctors who work for the San Antonio Spurs and the Detroit Pistons said the health problem was treatable and there was no reason Elliott couldn’t play while taking the prescribed medication.

But doctors in Houston said, hold on there. He needs treatment AND rest.

And therein lies the rub.

Treatment and rest, you see, would take Elliott out of the NBA playoffs – which is the very reason the Rockets traded two forwards to the Pistons for his services.

Elliott passed physicals at San Antonio and, when he was traded to Detroit, in October.

But when he was swapped from Detroit to Houston last week, he failed the Rockets’ physical.

“When the Houston doctors told me I should take some time out, get rest and treatment, that was more news to me than anything,’ he said. “This other doctor I’d been seeing had told me I could play!’

If the Houston doctors had agreed with the other guys, he was asked, could he have played last night?

“Sure,’ Elliott said. “I would have been playing the whole season. But since they told me these were warning signs, and just be careful, I took time out to see what was going on.’

That brings us to the present. The former University of Arizona All-American and College Player of the Year is on indefinite leave of absence from the Pistons, lining up an independent medical examination by local doctors.

The deal with the Rockets is off, at least for the time being.

Sean looks fine.

And that, alone, would knock your socks off, if you got your news from the rumormongers.

“The wildest stuff you can imagine, and the worst stuff you can imagine,’ he said was being shoveled about with rich abandon.

Sean found that more painful than the kidney problem.

A call from Denver, he said, spread the rumor that Elliott was gay and had AIDS. “That’s asinine,’ he said. “Why do people come up with stuff like that?’

The news media disappointed him, too – people who had always found Elliott accessible, patient and kind.

“It seemed like the media in general wanted the worst to happen,’ he said. “That disappointed me because around the league, in every city, I have always treated the media with a lot of respect.

“And when it came down to it, they didn’t treat me with any respect. They just wanted something to sell papers and fuel the fire – at my expense.’

A rumor is like a dust devil. It gathers dirt as soon as it takes off and starts to move.

The best way to deal with it is just what Sean did. Call a press conference and clear the air.

* Citizen Sports Columnist Corky Simpson may be reached at 573-4635 (fax 573-4569).

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