HEALTH

NBA champion, ‘Survivor’ contestant Scot Pollard is feeling great after heart transplant, wife says

Feb 17, 2024, 2:45 PM | Updated: 4:00 pm

FILE - Former Sacramento Kings player Scot Pollard signs an autograph during the half time of the K...

FILE - Former Sacramento Kings player Scot Pollard signs an autograph during the half time of the Kings NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Saturday, April 9, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. NBA champion and “Survivor” contestant Scot Pollard has had a heart transplant, his wife said on social media on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –– NBA champion and “Survivor” contestant Scot Pollard is “awake and feeling great” a day after a heart transplant, his wife said Saturday on social media.

“Scot has a new heart!” Dawn Pollard posted Friday night on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Surgery went well and I’ve been told the heart is big, powerful and is a perfect fit! Now on to the crucial part of recovery.”

She posted an update Saturday, writing: “Look who’s awake and is feeling great! Breathing tube came out early this morning and he started cracking jokes and singing, ‘I left my heart in San Fran-Nashville.’ We are all amazed at Scot’s recovery so far!”

Pollard, who turned 49 on Monday, needed a transplant because of damage to his heart from a virus he caught in 2021 that likely triggered a genetic condition he has known about since it killed his father at 54, when Scot was 16. Pollard’s size complicated efforts to find a donor with a heart big enough to fit his 6-foot-11, 260-pound body.

The heart transplant – ‘It’s go time’

Earlier Friday, Dawn Pollard posted that a heart had been found.

“It’s go time!” she posted on X. “Please keep the prayers coming for Scot, the surgeons, for the donor and his family who lost their loved one. This donor gave the most amazing gift of life and we are forever grateful.”

Pollard was a 1997 first-round draft pick after helping Kansas reach the NCAA Sweet 16 in four straight seasons. He was a useful big man off the bench for much of an NBA career that stretched over 11 years and five teams. He played 55 seconds in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ trip to the NBA Finals in 2007, and won it all the following year with the Boston Celtics despite a season-ending ankle injury in February.

Pollard retired after that season, then dabbled in broadcasting and acting. He was a contestant on the 32nd season of “Survivor,” where he was voted out on Day 27 with eight castaways remaining.

Pollard went public with his condition last month and began the process of listing himself at transplant centers. He was admitted to intensive care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center on Feb. 7.

“I’m staying here until I get a heart,” he said in a text message to The Associated Press from his hospital room in Nashville, Tennessee. “My heart got weaker. (Doctors) agree this is my best shot at getting a heart quicker.”

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NBA champion, ‘Survivor’ contestant Scot Pollard is feeling great after heart transplant, wife says