Hayes relates to Wilcox's situation

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Hayes relates to Wilcox's situation

SACRAMENTO, Calif. News travels pretty fast in the NBA, such as Boston Celtics forward Chris Wilcox being out for the year.

But Sacramento Kings forward Chuck Hayes didn't know why, until Friday.

That it is when a reporter informed him that Wilcox was out for the year due to a heart-related issue that would require surgery.

"It's heart-related?" a visibly shaken Hayes said. "Wow!"

The uncertainty that Wilcox is experiencing now about his future with the Celtics, with basketball, with life Hayes knows all too well what Wilcox is experiencing now emotionally.

Hayes had a four-year deal worth 21.3 million with the Sacramento Kings voided after a heart abnormality came up in his physical.

However, additional tests cleared him to play and he later signed another four-year deal with the Kings worth slightly more (22.4 million).

Wilcox was not as fortunate, with additional tests indicating surgery, which will be performed on March 29, was needed to repair his heart condition.

"It's tough," Hayes told CSNNE.com. "It puts things in a different light, as far as your life. A situation like that, it really puts it all in perspective. Anything internal, that's scary."

So was the grueling regimen of tests that Hayes recalls as the "worst 11 hours of my life."

Like Wilcox and another Celtics player who is out this year due to a heart-related condition, Jeff Green, Hayes spent some time at the Mayo Clinic in Cleveland.

"You got blood work, IV, treadmill, EKG, Echos, the whole nine," Hayes recalled.

As draining as it was mentally and physically, not knowing exactly what was going on with his body was even worst.

"It's worth it, all the tests, because they let you know where you stand with your body and your health," Hayes said. "But it is really tough on your mind and body, going through all those tests in one day."

While the surgery will keep Wilcox sidelined for the rest of this season, doctors have indicated he should make a full recovery and be able to resume playing next season.

"Staying positive is really important," Hayes said.

Hayes recalls getting words of encouragement via texts from a number of players such as Juwan Howard, Ronnie Turiaf (who also had heart surgery) and LaMarcus Aldridge, to name a few.

"Hearing from others really helps," Hayes said. "It's really bad to hear that he's going through something like this. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family, and I pray that he'll be back on the court real soon."

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

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Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?