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HEARTBEAT KEEPS HAKEEM IN HOSPITAL

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Hakeem Olajuwon could be sidelined up to a week because of an irregular heartbeat that sent him to the hospital.

His heartbeat was back to normal Wednesday after doctors used a defibrillator to a restore the proper rhythm.Olajuwon, 33, might be released from The Methodist Hospital as early as today, depending on further test results, team physician Bruce Moseley said.

Doctors were optimistic those tests would show no long-term problems. They do not believe the irregularity, similar to one Olajuwon experienced in 1991, stems from any degenerative condition.

"Barring unusual findings in further tests, we hope and expect that this will resolve and that he will go on and do very well," Moseley said.

Team officials expected Olajuwon to be sidelined for 5-7 days.

Olajuwon developed an irregular heartbeat after drinking a glass of cold water at halftime Tuesday night.

The abnormal rhythm, or arrhythmia, appears similar to the 1991 episode that led to Olajuwon missing seven games, Moseley said.

"It resolved and he did well, and we hope it's going to do the same thing this time," Moseley said.

Moseley described Olajuwon as in "reasonably good" spirits Wednesday.

"He was feeling a whole lot better now that his rhythm was back to normal," said Moseley, describing the irregularity as a "disconcerting feeling."

Moseley said it was not known when Olajuwon would return to the court.

"We don't want him to feel like we're rushing him back," Moseley said. "We're going to take all the usual precautions, if anything, err on the side of being conservative because this isn't anything to fool around with."

It's not really known why such arrhythmia occurs, and there's no medicine to control the heartbeat, said the doctor.