Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/18/13
Timberwolves brass has two choices when the final roster spots are filled before opening night decisions that barring a trade or free-agent signing will force Flip Saunders and Rick Adelman to decide between veteran savvy and rookie potential. If it is life experiences they want fifth-year guard A.J. Price has them and maybe then some. Price was invited to training camp partly because of his connection with new Wolves General Manager Milt Newton from the season they spent together in Washington a year ago partly because of three seasons with the Pacers and one with the Wizards. And partly because of two transformational years in college when he went two seasons without basketball because of complicated brain surgery and his own decisions. At age 27 he is trying to stay in the NBA with an opportunity he admits was the only real one that didn’t involve playing overseas. He is competing with fellow veteran Othyus Jeffers and rookies Lorenzo Brown and Robbie Hummel for the team’s final two jobs because of what Adelman calls his professionalism and Price himself attributes to life’s lessons learned. Price missed two collegiate seasons after his freshman year at Connecticut when he was diagnosed with a condition that entangles brain arteries and veins and required that surgery he credits with saving his life after his brain hemorrhaged. While he recovered Price and a teammate were suspended by the school for a season for their involvement in trying to sell stolen laptop computers. He attributes both experiences nearly a decade ago to changing his life each for the better for a former nationally recruited prep star who won New York state high school championships. “Each of them they humbled me like I can’t even express more than anyone can imagine” said Price who is named Anthony Jordan after his father who briefly played in the NBA and another NBA player named Michael. “I almost lost my life changed my life made me into the person I am today.” Looking back he attributes working harder physically than he ever had in his life during his freshman year at UConn to triggering a condition called arteriovenous malformation — an abnormality he says he was born with — that can cause brain arteries and veins to burst. One night he played video games went to bed in his dorm room and didn’t get up until the school sent a trainer over five days later. He spent those five days in a state he compares to “blackout drunkenness.” He said his friends and dorm mates just thought he was ill with the flu. “I still don’t remember two weeks of my life” he said. “Friends came to my room and I didn’t recognize them. This is what people told me afterward. I don’t remember any of it.” He was taken to UConn’s infirmary then helicoptered to one hospital and transported to another in Hartford where a CAT scan of his brain finally revealed the condition. Four months later he underwent surgery at a Boston hospital.
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