Utah Jazz GM Justin Zanik is set for a kidney transplant Tuesday

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Jazz general manager Justin Zanik is set to have a kidney transplant Tuesday at the University of Utah hospital.

Zanik will receive a donor kidney after being diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease in October. Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder that causes clusters of cysts to grow within kidneys.

The surgery is expected to take from 2 1/2 to three hours. Zanik is scheduled to be discharged three days after the surgery, barring complications. He will then be cleared to return to his job duties after three weeks and plans to resume a full-time workload in six weeks.

“I’m not out of the business,” Zanik said. “I’m basically taking a rest for about three to six weeks and then I’ll be back. I’ll be on the phone. I’ll be running the draft and I’ll be running the team, trying to make us better, and I’m excited about it.”

Zanik said his father also suffers from polycystic kidney disease and had a kidney transplant in 2003. The transplant was successful, and his kidney is still functioning well 21 years later.

Zanik was diagnosed after a physical six months ago. His wife, Gina, urged him to get a checkup after Zanik showed visible fatigue following late-summer trips to the FIBA World Cup and to Australia. He initially shrugged off his diminished energy as side effects from taking multiple long international flights a week apart.

Then came word his kidneys were on the verge of total failure. Sharing that news with family and friends was especially troubling because Zanik said he prefers to be the one who sees to others' needs.

“I’m the one that fixes everything in people’s lives — here (with the Jazz), my personal life, my kids," Zanik said. "To have that feeling that I need to be fixed and I need to ask for help is hard.”

Zanik uncovered no other serious health conditions during testing, making him an ideal transplant candidate. He was matched with a donor three weeks ago through the National Kidney Registry’s living donor program.


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