Arvydas Sabonis

Very nice, very joyful, very cosy and it does not hurt? Read more
“Very nice, very joyful, very cosy and it does not hurt(?). Wish you all good health and success. Do not forget to keep the professor’s caviar safely.
Thank you very much! See you (?)
Sabas. 26.01.2008”

   Arvydas Sabonis – one of the most prominent basketball players in Lithuania and very popular in the whole world.

   In 1987, the professor K. Vitkus operated on the Achilles tendon rupture to the Lithuanian basketball star A. Sabonis’ right leg. One early morning in spring, 1987, doc. M. Vitkus had a call in his office from the Kremlin. Valerijonas Baltrūnas was calling to inform that the right Achilles tendon ruptured to A. Sabonis. The surgery was entrusted to microsurgeons from Vilnius.
   “Achilles tendon rupture – the surgery is simple, but the nicer it is stitched, the better it is healing and functioning. The Achilles tendon rupture sutured to Arvydas Sabonis by professor Kęstutis Vitkus allowed him to become one of the NBA stars.” Prof. MD Vytautas Tutkus


   Microsurgeon Kęstutis Vitkus, who was treating Arvydas Sabonis, spent rehabilitation with the basketball player in USA. K. Vitkus became interested in arthroscopic knee joint surgeries, performed by the American surgeons, and invited them to Lithuania. At that time, not many of us believed that they were going to arrive actually… But one year later MD James Baldwin had arrived to Lithuania. He brought equipment, needed for arthroscopic surgeries. In 1990, MD J. Baldwin  and V. Tutkus had the first surgery in Vilnius – the arthroscopic surgery for meniscus tear had been performed in Lithuania for the first time.

Articles: - Siaubo ir vilties istorijos iš mikrochirurgų gyvenimo - Lietuvos mikrochirurgija prasidėjo nuo dviejų pirštų - Sports of The Times; Sabonis And the Big Boys - Trail-Blazing Is No Cinch at This Point for Sabonis - Journal World

More information on Achilles tendon surgeries is available here.

Photos from Arvydas Sabonis and Kęstutis Vitkus’ travel to USA in 1988. On the first picture together with the future past director of the clinics Vita Degutienė.