New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday has announced that he will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team in order to care for his wife, former U.S. soccer player Lauren Holiday who is pregnant and also been recently diagnosed with a brain tumor.
“We are all praying for a healthy delivery of their first child and a successful surgery for Lauren,” Pelicans general manager Dell Demps said in a prepared statement provided Sunday by the club. “Furthermore, we ask everyone to respect the Holiday’s privacy at this time.”
Lauren Holiday won Olympic gold medals with the U.S. national team in 2008 and 2012, and FIFA World Cup title in 2015. The midfielder scored 24 goals in 133 games with the national squad. She also won a championship with FC Kansas City of the National Women’s Soccer League in 2015.
“The most important thing for Jrue to do right now is be with his wife and family,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said in a statement. “Every one of our coaches and players understands what Lauren and Jrue are going through, and they know we’re behind them one hundred percent. We’ll continue to do everything we can to support them and help them get through these hard times.”
Lauren has been diagnosed with a benign, operable tumor on the right side of her brain.
Jrue said that the baby is due in mid-October and that Lauren’s brain surgery will take place about six weeks after delivery.
“We encourage Jrue to take as much time as he needs to be with his wife and family before returning to the Pelicans,” Demps said, adding that the top priority of team owners Tom and Gayle Benson “is the health and wellness of the people in the organization.”
“We understand that Jrue will miss some games, and his teammates are prepared to step up in his absence,” said Demps, whose own wife, Anita, is a cancer survivor and also has had a benign tumor removed from her brain. “We will welcome Jrue back with open arms when he is ready to return to the team.”
Last year, Jrue averaged 17 points, six assists, three rebounds and 1.4 steals in less than 30 minutes per game. A stress fracture in his lower right leg that sidelined him for the better part of the previous two seasons.