Wizards center Thomas hopes to return this season

Updated: January 18, 2008, 7:36 PM ET
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Washington Wizards center Etan Thomas hopes to return from open heart surgery this season.

Etan Thomas


Thomas said in a radio interview Friday that he should be able to practice with his teammates soon, the next step in getting back on the court after having a 4-hour operation in October to replace a leaking aortic valve.

"I definitely plan on returning this year," Thomas said on "The John Thompson Show" on WTEM.

"My recovery is going well," Thomas said. "I'm able to do more and more. I'm looking forward to getting cleared to be able to practice here soon."

The 29-year-old Thomas has played six seasons for the Wizards and is the team's longest-tenured player. He started a career-high 32 games last season, averaging 6.1 points and 5.8 rebounds.

Thomas was diagnosed with a leaking aortic valve after a routine physical before the start of training camp.

He recently worked out at a sports academy in Florida for more than a week while doctors monitored his heart rate.

"Everything is fine with my heart. My body has reacted great to the surgery," Thomas said. "Now they're just waiting to do a few more tests just to make sure I can take contact to the sternum. But I feel fine. I feel great."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press