UK's Thomas had tumor removed

December 30, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON - Sheray Thomas knows numerous rumors and questions have surfaced about what was wrong with him when he needed a major surgery in October that forced him to miss over two months of the basketball season.

So after keeping silent about what was wrong for months, Thomas finally revealed Wednesday that he had to have a tumor removed.

"What happened is that I had a tumor. That was the story. It was not cancer or anything like that," Thomas said. "It was just something in my abdomen area that had to come out of me. It was chewing up a lot of adrenaline and making me tired."

Thomas, a sophomore, said he knew exactly where the tumor was but that he didn't want to "go into detail about all that stuff."


Instead, he says what matters now is that he is able to play basketball again and has returned to a normal life.

"The tumor is gone and I'm back," Thomas said after Kentucky's 82-50 win over Campbell. "It's a blessing that the tumor was benign.

"It was really scary at first. I never expected anything like that. I had never had a serious problem before. I am in ready to go, happy to be back and anxious to get ready for the season. I felt fine. Nothing was wrong with me."

That changed when a routine test showed that Thomas did have something wrong with him. That's when doctors discovered he had a tumor and needed surgery.

"I'm happy they found it in time and were able to take it out of me," Thomas said.

Thomas let Kentucky coach Tubby Smith tell his teammates about his problem. He says the players immediately told him he would be fine and offered support during his recovery.

He lost close to 30 pounds because he couldn't keep food in his system. He mainly stayed in bed before finally "forcing" himself to go to class after about two weeks.

"My first real meal was probably chicken," he said. "I am eating well from now on. I missed a lot of meals, but no more."

Thomas could tell he was lighter and not as strong when he finally returned to practice about two weeks ago. He says his strength is coming back and that he kept up with what the Cats were doing, thanks to his playing experience from last year and paying attention to details while he watched practice this season.

"I knew when I got back, I had to be ready to go," Thomas said.

He played just over one minute in Kentucky's win at Louisville Dec. 18. Against Campbell, he had four points and one rebound. But he played 10 minutes, the most minutes he's had in the three games he's played this year.

"I would say I'm about 85 percent," Thomas said. "I just need to get all my strength back and get back into physical shape. I'm a scrappy dude, and I'm not going to let that affect me when I play. No one is forcing me to do anything. Everybody wants to let things fall in place and that suits me just fine."

Numbers: Freshman center Randolph Morris had career highs in points (25), assists (3), steals (3) and blocked shots (2.) ... Chuck Hayes had 11 rebounds, his fifth game with 10 or more rebounds this season ... Patrick Sparks had seven assists for the second straight game and the third time this season ... Brandon Stockton tied his career-high with eight points on 3-for-3 shooting. He also tied his career bests with three assists and two steals ... Kentucky outscored Campbell 52-20 in the paint ... Kentucky had 27 assists for the second straight game.

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