Former UK star Mike Casey in critical condition

kward1@herald-leader.comMarch 25, 2009 

University of Kentucky basketball great Mike Casey was in critical condition after a serious heart procedure at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville on Tuesday.

Casey, of Shelbyville, received a ventricular assist device, which helps the heart pump blood, said his daughter, Laura Lake.

She said the device is a short-term solution; her father will need a heart transplant or another device in the future.

"It's critical still," she said. "We've just got to pray."

Casey, 60, was named Mr. Basketball in 1966 and was the leading scorer at UK as a sophomore in 1967-68.

He broke a leg in a car wreck and was forced to sit out the 1969-70 season, but he returned the next year to finish his UK career with 1,535 points. That made him the 13th all-time scorer in UK history.

Casey, who is retired from Balfour, a company that makes class rings and graduation products, is scheduled to be inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in April.

"Dad's a fighter," Lake said. "He's a fighting man."

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