Report: LaMarcus Aldridge cleared to return to NBA after abruptly retiring with irregular heartbeat
LaMarcus Aldridge is clear to return to the NBA after retiring abruptly in April when he experienced an irregular heartbeat in a game, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported.
The Brooklyn Nets are favorites to sign Aldridge, Charania reported. Aldridge signed a one-year deal with Brooklyn in March and played five games before the abrupt retirement.
Seven-time NBA All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge has been cleared to play again, passing all of the necessary tests, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. The Nets are leaders to sign Aldridge, sources said.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 2, 2021
Charania reported he received "full medical clearance."
Aldridge, 36, is a seven-time All-Star over his 15-season career. He spent all of his time with the Portland Trailblazers (2006-15) and San Antonio Spurs ('15-21), who agreed on his buyout this past March. He then signed with Brooklyn.
He averaged 19.4 points and 8.2 rebounds in his career. In the five games with Brooklyn he averaged 12.8 points on 52.1% shooting with 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 26 minutes per game.
Aldridge on 'scariest night ever' that led to retirement
Aldridge played his entire career with Wolff-Parkinson-White disease, a heart condition that causes a rapid or irregular heartbeat. He told Charania in June he had it under control for years, but a tough game and scary night led to his abrupt retirement.
In the April 10 game with the Nets, he experienced an "irregular rhythm the whole game" that he hadn't experienced in the past. He said it was never irregular during games and he couldn't get himself going. His heart rate didn't improve at the hotel and he spent the hours from 2 to 5 a.m. "trying to evoke some breathing," he told Charania.
He texted the team doctor at 5:30 a.m. and went to the hospital. He called it "probably the scariest night ever." He told Charania:
"I can be in rhythm one second and out of rhythm the next second. No one can pinpoint when it can happen. It’s very unpredictable, and I didn’t want to keep playing and feeling the way I felt that night anymore and risk … no one knows for 100 percent if you can have something bad happen. My first time in 2006, I blacked out on the bench. That’s when we first found out that I had this condition. So what if I’m on the court and a big guy is coming down the lane, my heart is beating funny, and then I black out? He runs into me, and I can hurt my head on the floor. I can be paralyzed. What if I’m going for a dunk and I black out? There’s so many things that can happen in a bad way."
He decided within days to retire, but told Charania he struggled to find who he was outside of basketball and was dealing with a depressive state. It was more difficult, he said, because of the "cohesiveness" he found with the Nets that he had eluded him in the past.