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Syracuse assistant Gerry McNamara undergoes back surgery

Gerry McNamara

Former Syracuse guard and current Orange assistant Gerry McNamara underwent surgery to replace three discs in his back two weeks ago and is now speaking about his experience to the Syracuse Post-Standard.

“It was a long process,” McNamara told the paper. “It started back in May or even earlier. I didn’t know what was wrong at first, but I knew something was definitely wrong.”

According to the report, McNamara suffers from a degenerative disc disease that affects three vertebrae in his back. In his case, two vertebrae were pressing close to his spine, which could have had serious consequences had he been injured during his playing career.

“They said if I had gotten hit wrong (while playing basketball) or rear-ended, it could have resulted in paralysis,” McNamara told the Post-Standard.

McNamara underwent the procedure in Germany due to restrictions by the FDA on the number of artificial discs used in surgery.

He underwent the procedure and returned to the United States five days later. He is now back at work with Syracuse, but limiting his physical activity.

“I don’t want to push it,” McNamara said. “I’m going to take a three-month approach. I’ll have a light lifting program. I’ll wait before I start to run because running puts pressure on the spinal cord.”

During his playing career at Syracuse, McNamara averaged 15.5 points and 4.8 assists per game. Syracuse enters the 2012-13 season after winning 34 games and advancing to the Elite 8 last season.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_