OAKLAND, Calif. — The Celtics have been dealt with another injury blow Wednesday afternoon when they learned that forward Chris Wilcox will not return this season because of surgery to repair an enlarged aorta. Wilcox, who last played March 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers, underwent a series of tests and the team received those results Wednesday as the team’s prepared to play the Golden State Warriors.
The team announced late Wednesday afternoon that Wilcox will undergo surgery March 29 at the Cleveland Clinic and doctors have said he can resume his NBA career next season. The team said Wilcox has a previous condition that had been “stable” but recent tests showed an enlargement of the aorta that requires surgery.
“While we are saddened that Chris will not be able to play again this season, the most important thing is his health, and we were fortunate to have access to an amazing team of specialists to evaluate Chris’s case,” said Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge said in a statement. “The entire Celtics family supports Chris during this difficult time in his career.”
Wilcox, who underwent monthly heart examinations, was held out of the March 9 game against the Portland Trail Blazers because a test detected a potential abnormality. The power forward then underwent more testing at the Cleveland Clinic and like, teammate Jeff Green, will be forced to miss extensive time.
The team is seeking another big man to replace him on the roster. Green is currently sitting out the season after January surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm. He is expected to resume playing next season.
Wilcox, 29, signed in the offseason, was an effective player off the bench when healthy. He averaged 5.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in 28 games. After dealing with a series of minor injuries, Wilcox had become a dependable reserve and backup to Kevin Garnett.