ORLANDO Jazz forward Matt Harpring arrived in Orlando from Salt Lake City early Friday morning with news that, at least so far, is so good.
Harpring has vomited violently and subsequently passed out six times during the past 15 months, causing him to miss four games last season and three in the past week.
The most-recent episode occurred late last Friday, when Harpring got sick on a Jazz charter flight from Portland to Salt Lake City and passed out in the airplane bathroom.
"It scares me," he said. "I mean, it's just not natural."
The 31-year-old veteran has been undergoing testing during the past week to determine a cause for what the team is calling "gastric distress," and initial indications are that he has no major medical complications.
"We were talking all the things from cancer to everything," said Harpring, who on Friday morning still was waiting to learn the results of one additional but important exam performed Thursday in Utah. "So the good thing is they ruled out a lot. ... Maybe we didn't find what it exactly is yet, but a lot of things it's not. At least that gives me and (wife) Mandy a peace of mind."
Harpring, who last summer underwent surgery on his twice previously surgically repaired knee, said doctors suspect his problems stem from anti-inflammatory medication he takes during the season.
"They think it has to do with the anti-inflammatories ... just eroding my stomach and my (gastrointestinal) tract," he said.
"One solution is to get off the anti-inflammatories," Harpring added, "but if I do that I can't play. (So) they're going to try to give me a pill that coats my stomach."
Because he has had to fast frequently and maintain a liquid diet for most of the past week, Harpring said he has lost a significant amount of weight.
Tests he's endured during the week include a barium exam, insertion of a scope into his stomach and the big one an exam in which a computerized camera follows a pill as it makes its way through his system over the course of an eight-hour period.
The reserve small forward plans to play tonight against the Magic, one of his former teams, but he isn't sure for how long he'll be able to go.
"I'll find out tonight real quick," Harpring said.NOTES: No new news early Friday in the case of reserve shooting guard Gordan Giricek, who was ordered to return to Salt Lake City after he got into a war of words with Jazz coach Jerry Sloan during the second quarter of Wednesday's loss at Charlotte. The Jazz still have no said if they intend to buy out what's left on Giricek's contract, try to trade the veteran from Croatia or eventually reinstate him. ... Usual starting center Mehmet Okur will miss his sixth straight game tonight with a strained left shoulder, and is doubtful for Saturday's visit to Miami as well. ... With Okur still out, Sloan said centers Jarron Collins and Kyrylo Fesenko both will spend time tonight playing against Magic star Dwight Howard. "He's a wonderful player who will be hard for us to deal with because of his length, and everything, his size," Sloan said of the 6-foot-11 Howard, who is averaging 23.5 points and 15.1 rebounds per game. "We're gonna have to try to give help."
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