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Good Prognosis for Elway’s Wife

August 7, 1998 GMT

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) _ While his teammates practiced for their first game since the Super Bowl, John Elway was with his wife as she recovered from surgery in Minnesota.

Janet Elway was in good condition Friday at Mayo Clinic, where she underwent colon surgery Thursday. Although the purpose of the operation was unclear, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan emphasized she does not have cancer.

``The doctors felt very good about the operation,″ said Shanahan, who spoke with his quarterback on Thursday. ``Everything came out as good as it could have, so hopefully now the problem is resolved and she’s going to feel a lot better.″

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She is expected to remain at the clinic in Rochester, Minn., for three to four days. John Elway will not accompany the team to St. Louis for the exhibition game Saturday against the Rams.

Elway’s absence leaves Bubby Brister the starter. Rookie Brian Griese also will see extensive playing time.

``It’s always tough for a quarterback in his first game,″ Shanahan said. ``Brian has picked things up much faster than I could have anticipated in my wildest dreams. He really has a good feel for the offense.″

Elway told Shanahan he would be willing to meet the team in St. Louis, but Shanahan told him that would not be necessary.

``It’s more important that he be with his wife, which I know he wanted to do,″ Shanahan said. ``But he wanted to do both. That’s just the type of person he is.″

Janet Elway has spoken publicly about her fight with Crohn’s disease, which is characterized by severe pain, diarrhea, stomach cramps, bleeding and weight loss.

It is caused when the body’s own immune system attacks the intestines, causing holes in the intestinal lining. Medication is the usual treatment, but many of the 2 million Americans afflicted with the ailment require surgery.

Shanahan and family members have said Thursday’s surgery was not related to Crohn’s disease.

``It was a problem with the colon that no one quite knew what it was,″ Shanahan said. ``They weren’t really sure, that’s why they went in and operated.″

Shanahan said the surgery was at least 3 1/2 hours. A Mayo Clinic spokesman declined to answer questions about the operation.