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Iowa C Luka Garza shooting for opener after 9-pound cyst removed

Iowa center Luka Garza came back to Iowa City this summer determined to move closer toward his goal of becoming one of the nation's top big men.

Posted: Oct 9, 2018 11:25 AM

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa center Luka Garza came back to Iowa City this summer determined to move closer toward his goal of becoming one of the nation's top big men.

But as the workouts piled up, Garza noticed that he would be in an unusual amount of pain afterward — pain that worsened as the days wore on.

Soon, even standing became a chore.

"I knew something wasn't right," Garza said.

It took a few ultrasounds and a CAT scan, but doctors eventually discovered a 9-pound benign cyst attached to Garza's spleen. Garza had surgery to remove it in early September, and he might even be back when the Hawkeyes open their season on Nov. 8 against UMKC.

Whenever Garza returns, the 6-foot-11 sophomore will do so with a new perspective on both life and basketball.

"It's just a hard situation. It's a little adversity, but I've always been a person that works through adversity," Garza said before acknowledging that "it might be a little bit more than a little" adversity.

Though the 19-year-old Garza has yet to return fully to practice, he and the Hawkeyes are hopeful that his potentially life-threatening medical situation will soon be behind him.

When it is, Iowa will be getting back one of the more intriguing young players in the Big Ten.

Garza, who grew up in Washington, seemed like he might have been a bit of a steal by the Hawkeyes after he won player-of-the-year honors for the District of Columbia, averaging 24.6 points and 11.7 rebounds a game as a senior at the private Maret School.

Garza immediately broke through a crowded frontcourt to make 26 starts. He averaged 12.1 points a game and 6.4 rebounds and led the Hawkeyes with 32 blocked shots.

Garza was twice named the Big Ten's freshman of the week, and his 16 rebounds against Wisconsin were the most by an Iowa player in two years.

"Luka is huge — both literally and figuratively," junior forward Tyler Cook said. "His skill set, how hard he plays, the things that he can do on the court, his impact on his teammates is something that can't be replaced. It's something that makes him special as a person and as a player. I'm just thankful that he's getting healthy."

That wasn't always a guarantee.

Garza said his doctors don't really know when or why his cyst developed, though he said he played last season without any pain in that area.

But Garza said that, had the cyst not been removed, he would have run the risk of it having it ruptured in practice or during a game by an errant elbow or an awkward fall. That may have caused the spleen to rupture as well, a scenario that would've put Garza's life in danger.

"I never thought something like that could be going on," Garza said. "It was definitely a little scary, because there was a big risk to the surgery. But the surgery went really well. Everything went as well as possible."

The Hawkeyes are likely to err on the side of caution with Garza, who only began shooting last week and running on Friday. The focus will be on getting Garza's conditioning in order until he's cleared for contact.

The key now, according to coach Fran McCaffery, is patience.

"He's in a really good place mentally," McCaffery said.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 454989

Reported Deaths: 6163
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin943781502
Ramsey40624748
Dakota33540354
Anoka31357368
Washington20533237
Stearns18091190
St. Louis13970250
Scott1217799
Wright11791107
Olmsted1078075
Sherburne829669
Carver704439
Clay658884
Rice624274
Kandiyohi558072
Blue Earth548033
Crow Wing490478
Otter Tail464268
Chisago459538
Benton423688
Winona394548
Douglas379366
Nobles374647
Mower373729
Goodhue356863
Polk330760
McLeod328147
Beltrami315748
Morrison314545
Lyon305539
Becker288939
Itasca287343
Isanti285643
Carlton284043
Steele278910
Pine270315
Freeborn254123
Todd233730
Nicollet229438
Brown218034
Mille Lacs215645
Le Sueur214216
Cass210724
Meeker201333
Waseca193216
Wabasha17463
Martin171926
Roseau166417
Hubbard150738
Redwood141127
Houston140014
Dodge13934
Renville138440
Chippewa133032
Cottonwood129018
Fillmore12698
Wadena120818
Rock112012
Aitkin111433
Sibley10997
Faribault109416
Watonwan10688
Pennington101016
Kanabec99618
Pipestone96823
Yellow Medicine94916
Murray9117
Jackson87310
Swift84518
Pope7475
Stevens7078
Marshall70315
Clearwater68814
Lake66315
Lac qui Parle66116
Wilkin6339
Koochiching60610
Lincoln4912
Unassigned47369
Big Stone4693
Grant4388
Norman4258
Mahnomen4167
Kittson37420
Red Lake3204
Traverse2613
Lake of the Woods1961
Cook1160

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 311430

Reported Deaths: 4433
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46841465
Linn18065279
Scott15872172
Black Hawk14090243
Woodbury13129181
Johnson1230052
Dubuque11625159
Pottawattamie9166115
Dallas908972
Story881038
Cerro Gordo473572
Webster472477
Sioux459757
Warren459339
Clinton458168
Marshall431162
Buena Vista396330
Muscatine396178
Des Moines395143
Plymouth353270
Wapello350798
Jasper332859
Lee324632
Marion309353
Jones274950
Henry267131
Carroll258434
Bremer250148
Crawford234724
Boone222917
Washington222933
Benton213650
Mahaska197937
Jackson195032
Tama190259
Dickinson188829
Kossuth180644
Delaware176236
Clay172521
Wright167124
Fayette166024
Hamilton162330
Buchanan162224
Winneshiek160820
Harrison158562
Hardin157931
Cedar155619
Clayton153849
Butler151724
Page147115
Floyd141636
Cherokee140127
Mills138517
Lyon137533
Poweshiek135224
Hancock131924
Allamakee130930
Iowa127722
Madison123910
Calhoun12349
Grundy122628
Winnebago122229
Jefferson122125
Mitchell116837
Louisa116230
Cass115243
Chickasaw113712
Appanoose112640
Sac112215
Union111623
Emmet111332
Humboldt106819
Shelby105527
Guthrie104424
Franklin103618
Unassigned10160
Palo Alto92411
Montgomery89124
Keokuk86326
Howard85919
Monroe82220
Clarke8129
Pocahontas78211
Ida76030
Davis70321
Greene6977
Adair69620
Monona68518
Lucas66710
Osceola64711
Worth6194
Taylor5999
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Van Buren50215
Decatur4974
Ringgold45111
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