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Gayles in ‘good spirits’ after surgeries for gunshot wounds, coach says

Spring Valley senior basketball star Aaliyah Gayles is in “good spirits” following three surgeries to treat gunshot wounds sustained Saturday at a house party in North Las Vegas, according to her high school coach.

Billy Hemberger, who coached Gayles for four years at Spring Valley before accepting the Liberty girls job this month, was among the first to see Gayles on Tuesday at University Medical Center. He said the McDonald’s All-American and Southern California commit is “doing really well. All the surgeries went really, really well. (She was) laughing, cracking jokes.”

Gayles, 18, probably will spend two months in a wheelchair before beginning rehabilitation, Hemberger said. She was shot 10 times, including eight in the legs and ankles, according to people familiar with the situation.

Gayles will need to learn how to walk again, said Hemberger, adding that “if miracles like Alex Smith (former NFL quarterback who almost lost a leg after being injured in a game) can happen, then who knows what the future may hold.”

Gayles, ESPN’s No. 8 prospect in the senior class, averaged 13.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 3.3 assists this past season to lead Spring Valley to the Class 5A state tournament.

A fundraiser established to support her recovery has raised more than $15,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.

Contact Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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