Jrue Holiday: New Orleans Pelicans Player To Miss Start Of NBA Season, Pregnant Wife Facing Brain Surgery

Jrue Holiday, the New Orleans’ Pelicans point guard, will miss the first part of the season as his pregnant wife is facing brain surgery, the New Orleans Times-Picayune is reporting.

The timing couldn’t be worse for Holiday, who was finally healthy and poised to make a comeback following an injury-plagued first three seasons with the Pelicans.

Unfortunately for Holiday, sometimes life gets in the way of your career plans. And when the life of your spouse and your unborn child are on the line, your job takes a back seat to more important matters.

Back in late June, a doctor discovered a tumor on the right side of Lauren Holiday’s brain. The news came as a shock to Lauren; at 28, she was young and had just retired as a two-time Olympic gold medalist for the U.S. Women’s soccer team. She had even retired from soccer to start a family.

At the time, Jrue called the diagnosis “devastating.”

Fortunately, the brain tumor was deemed operable, and could be removed with surgery. Even more fortunately, the tumor is not a danger to the unborn baby. Unfortunately, however, because of Lauren’s pregnancy, the surgery would have to wait until after Lauren gave birth. Since her due date is not until well after the start of the NBA season, that means her brain surgery would have to happen when her husband would be playing, including stretches on the road and away from his family.

Jrue is having none of that.

“My family comes before basketball. I’m obviously blessed to play this game and be in the position I am in, but my wife is the most important thing in the world to me. She comes before anything else.”

In a statement made available via Fansided, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry vowed to give his point guard as much time as he needs.

“The most important thing for Jrue to do right now is be with his wife and family. We’ll continue to do everything we can to support them and help them get through these hard times.”

Lauren’s due date is mid-October, although as Fansided writer Dave Stevenson notes, doctors may choose to induce birth, meaning she could have the baby by the end of September. She would likely have her brain surgery about six weeks later. From there, she will have to undergo an indefinite recovery period.

Jrue says that the Pelicans have told him to take all the time he needs.

“The Pelicans have been great. There wasn’t any pressure to be with the team or to choose between my team and my wife. They told me to be a husband first. I don’t think they know how much their support means to me and my family.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Pelicans general manager Dell Demps.

“We encourage Jrue to take as much time as he needs to be with his wife and family before returning to the Pelicans… We understand that Jrue will miss some games, and his teammates are prepared to step up in his absence. We will welcome Jrue back with open arms when he is ready to return to the team.”

Strangely enough, Dell Demps himself is no stranger to having a sick wife: back in 2008, his own wife, Anita, was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer, followed by a benign brain tumor removed in 2009.

As Jrue Holiday takes time off while his wife recovers from brain surgery, the Pelicans intend to play Langston Galloway and Tim Frazier in his place.

[Photo by AP Photo/Reed Saxon]

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