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Raptors player joins ailing sister

January 24, 1997

DETROIT (AP) _ Carlos Rogers, the Toronto Raptors forward who is considering donating a kidney to his sister, joined her on Thursday after she slipped into critical condition at a Detroit hospital.

Rene Rogers, 29, was put on dialysis after her one good kidney started to fail. Henry Ford Hospital spokeswoman Kelly Brady said Thursday that she is not currently strong enough for a transplant.

She has a severe infection that leaves her on dialysis, hospital officials said.

Carlos Rogers and a family friend, Henrietta McFadden, gave a statement to reporters at the hospital but took no questions.

``I came here thinking about donating a kidney. I don’t believe that’s an option right now,″ he said. ``She’s much sicker than we anticipated. She’s being well taken care of.″

Carlos Rogers originally had planned to head home to Detroit after Thursday night’s game against Miami. But he changed plans and left during the afternoon when his sister’s condition worsened.

Rogers looked somber Thursday evening, dressed in a dark gray suit with striped gray tie. His family is not talking with reporters, but McFadden said relatives remain hopeful.

``We are all very prayerful,″ McFadden said. ``She’s a very sick little girl right now. We all just have to pray she gets better.″

The Raptors haven’t yet sought extensive medical advice on the ramifications for Rogers if he donated a kidney.

``Our doctors say now it’s possible (for Rogers to play), but ... it would put him at risk,″ general manager Isiah Thomas said.

That’s a scenario Rogers dismissed in earlier interviews.

``People are trying to scare me, calling me and telling me my career is over,″ he said. ``I don’t believe that. I’m healthy, I’ll still have one kidney. I’ll probably just have to go to the bathroom more.″

Rogers, 25, has four children and helps support his mother and most of his family of 10 siblings. He spent 2 1/2 hours talking with Thomas on Thursday.

``We’ll stand behind whatever decision he makes,″ Thomas said. ``I know this is not an easy time for him or his family.″

Rogers, a 6-foot-11 forward averaging 10.5 points and 5.8 rebounds a game, has been besieged by interview requests since it was learned he might donate a kidney.

A talkative, animated young man who is developing into a solid player, Rogers has maintained his composure throughout the ordeal. He cracks jokes, never turns down an interview request and is as accommodating as any player on the team.

``I’ve got to portray that I’m this happy guy, the strong one, that I’m Carlos,″ he said.

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