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Unexplained blackouts have Magic's Williams pondering retirement


ORLANDO, Fla. -- Orlando Magic forward Brian Williams - who fainted again Monday outside a friend's home in Tucson, Ariz. -- said yesterday that he will consider retiring from basketball unless doctors can accurately diagnose his problem.

Williams, who played collegiately at Maryland and then Arizona, also said yesterday that he does not expect to report for the start of the Magic's training camp Friday, and that he may instead explore more unconventional medical avenues in California. Williams said he is considering evaluation by a Los Angeles physician who "reads auras" and evaluates energy fields.

However, both Magic officials and Williams' agent are trying to persuade him to return to Orlando to participate in the camp under supervision of the Magic doctors, who remain puzzled by his blackouts.

Williams, a first-round draft pick last year, fainted Monday for the fourth time in seven weeks and was taken to a hospital in Tucson.

"My future is just so uncertain now," Williams said by phone from Tucson. "It's so difficult to comprehend what is going on. I've got to get some answers."

Williams received no definitive answers during two earlier hospital stays, one in California in August, and one last month in Orlando.

Numerous cardiac and neurological tests at both hospitals failed to reveal the cause of his blackouts. Doctors cleared him to resume workouts. Williams volunteered yesterday that he was given an AIDS test, and Magic officials confirmed the results were negative.

"I've exhausted all the avenues and gotten no answers," he said. "If I can't find a solution to this, I don't know what I'll do. I can't live my life in a shell."

Magic officials learned of Williams' latest fainting spell yesterday when Dr. Dietmar Gann, a Tucson cardiologist who examined him, contacted the Magic's doctors.

Williams surprised doctors and Magic officials when he suddenly left Orlando Sept. 29 only two days after leaving Florida Hospital. After tests ruled out any life- or career-threatening problems, doctors asked him to resume workouts while wearing a heart monitor at all times.

Williams was not wearing the monitor at the time of Monday's blackout, denying the Magic's doctors cardiac information that could help with the diagnosis.

"Brian needs to realize that he needs to be more cooperative," said John Gabriel, Magic director of player personnel. "We have to have him here under our supervision."

Gabriel said Williams nearly left Florida Hospital prematurely two weeks ago, and Gann said Williams left the Tucson hospital Monday night against medical advice.

Magic players are required to report for training camp at 5 p.m. tomorrow. If Williams does not report, he will be subject to a daily fine.

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