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Hall of Famer Tom Gola Recovering

September 6, 2003

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Basketball Hall of Famer Tom Gola was released from a hospital and transferred to a rehabilitation center to recover from a head injury suffered in a fall in July.

Gola, one of only two players to win NIT, NCAA and NBA championships, lost his balance and hit his head on a curb outside a restaurant and was unconscious for several days. He is now awake, talking with friends and able to move his limbs, according to family friend Ken Mugler.

``He is doing very well,″ Mugler said Friday. ``He has a tracheotomy, so he is speaking with a rasp, but he is alert and he is doing his rehab.″

The 70-year-old Gola was moved from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital within the past two weeks, Mugler said.

Doctors have told the family they don’t know how long it will take for Gola to regain use of his legs, Mugler said.

Gola is college basketball’s leading rebounder with 2,201, and led La Salle to the NIT and NCAA championships. He helped the Explorers to the NIT title in 1952 and the NCAA title in 1954.

In his rookie NBA season in 1955-56, Gola helped lead the Philadelphia Warriors to the championship. He was a five-time All-Star in his nine-year career, which included four seasons with the New York Knicks.

Gola also coached La Salle from 1968-70 and finished with a record of 37-13. His 1968-69 team went 23-1 but was ineligible for postseason play because of NCAA violations that had occurred under a previous coach. The school named its arena after Gola in 1998.

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