Harris released from hospital

jtipton@herald-leader.comDecember 5, 2008 

Kentucky teammates Ramon Harris and Michael Porter apparently sustained no lasting damage from their nasty head-to-head collision in Wednesday night's basketball game.

Harris, who was taken from the Rupp Arena court on a stretcher and admitted to University of Kentucky Hospital, was walking and joking on Thursday, stepfather Bryant Bowles said.

X-ray, MRI and CAT scan tests showed no damage, Bowles said. Harris was released from the hospital and allowed to return to Wildcat Lodge late Thursday afternoon.

Porter required 10 stitches to close a cut over his left eye and watched the second half of UK's victory over Lamar from the bench. His father, Gary Porter, said his son sustained "a mild, mild concussion."

As the players lay on the Rupp Arena court, Harris appeared to be possibly seriously hurt. He laid on his back for about eight minutes before being carefully placed on a stretcher.

His mother, Carmen Bowles, left her seat and came to her son's side. She flashed her husband a signal — she put her hand over her heart and gave a thumbs up gesture — which reassured Bryant.

This wasn't the first time Harris has been involved in a scary on-court incident. As a 10th-grader in Anchorage, Alaska, he got undercut on a layup attempt and "came down on his head," his stepfather said. That time, too, he was carried off on a stretcher.

"He was paranoid till he got to the hospital and found out he was OK," Bryant Bowles said. "This took me back to that moment."

As in the 10th-grade fall, Harris recovered quickly once he got to the hospital, his stepfather said.

"He got all his feeling back," Bryant Bowles said. "He actually watched the (UK-Lamar) game on TV while they treated him."

Harris also sent a message via a trainer to his teammates: "20 strong," an apparent reference to a united effort by UK's 20-man roster.

After the game, Billy Gillispie and his coaching staff spent a couple of hours at the hospital with Harris.

Gary Porter held his breath when he saw Michael collide with Harris, knowing his son had sustained several concussions before this season.

"Every time he gets a major hit, it's going to be on our minds," Gary Porter said of the potential implications of another concussion.

The elder Porter spoke to his son late Wednesday night. "He had a headache, which is expected, I guess," Gary Porter said. "He was real quiet. I think the pain stuff was starting to wear off.

"He seemed a little more dejected because he was, like, 'I don't want this to happen.'"

Porter sustained three or four concussions while playing high school football for Modesto (Calif.) Christian, his father said. Then he sustained another concussion during pre-season practice at UK last season.

Porter had a delayed reaction after last year's concussion.

"Michael was fine right after it," his father said. "Then, like three or four days later, he started having numbness on his right side on the day of Midnight Madness."

Porter now hopes to avoid a delayed reaction.

"I don't think the stitches part was a big thing to him," his father said. "He said (Wednesday) night that his concern is he doesn't want those headaches to come back. And I don't blame him. If they come back, 'I have to sit out.' He knows he doesn't want to do that."

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