Utah Jazz: Matt Harpring's love story is all about basketball

Published: Monday, Aug. 2 2010 10:00 p.m. MDT

"It's good for her because it gets her back in the professional world. She's not Matt's wife or the NBA wife. Over there, she's regarded as Dr. Harpring," said Dr. Harpring's husband between conducting drills at his camp.

"It's a great situation for her."

The Harprings also recently built a three-story home in Georgia. One of the house's features is an elevator, which Harpring installed "just in case" his hammered body couldn't handle climbing the stairs in 10 years.

Fortunately, the elevator isn't necessary now. Harpring, who hasn't played since the spring of 2009, is feeling in tip-top shape — most of the time.

"This year off without playing, my body has come back," Harpring said. "It feels better than I ever thought it would."

He exercises, walks without a limp after waking up and even briefly entertains "What if?" thoughts of playing again. His 34-year-old body, which has suffered a slew of injuries and endured more than a dozen surgeries for name-the-part, reminds him after a tough workout why enduring a grueling NBA season is no longer possible.

"When the body goes, the body goes — and my body went," Harpring said. "I would love to play until I'm 50, but it doesn't happen."

More than ever, Harpring simply appreciates the blessings of good health and a busy family life.

The gritty and gutsy former NBA player also has fond memories of doing things the right way during his career. He didn't try to "cheat the system" while coming back from injuries or when stepping on the court.

"I always went about it through just hard work and through pain and through just determination to get back onto the court, kind of the old-fashioned way," Harping said. "I kind of pride myself to know that I never took a shortcut that I'm disappointed in. Every morning, I could hold my head up high."

e-mail: jody@desnews.com

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