Kitchens’ condition was updated Wednesday by Mark Dalton, the Cardinals’ vice president for media relations.
“During Tuesday’s practice Freddie Kitchens began to feel ill -- dizzy, light-headed -- and was sent to the training room,” Dalton said in a statement released on Twitter. “After being evaluated by the team’s medical staff it was determined that he should be taken to the hospital for more evaluation and testing.
“During that process, a CT scan revealed a defect to his aorta that required surgery, which he had Tuesday night at the Arizona Heart Institute. According to the doctors who performed the surgery, it went very well and the early prognosis is positive. The Kitchens family is grateful to everyone who has and continues to extend their support, well wishes and prayers.”
An anonymous source told ESPN the operation lasted about nine hours.
The team gathered for a prayer for Kitchens' recovery before the start of Wednesday's practice session.
Kitchens is entering his sixth season on the Cardinals’ coaching staff. The head coach is Bruce Arians, who was Alabama’s offensive coordinator during 1997, which was Kitchens’ senior season.
Kitchens, an Etowah High graduate, played at Alabama during 1993-97 and won the starting quarterback job midway through his sophomore season. He was 22-13 as a starter.
He started his coaching career in 1999 at Glenville State College before joining Nick Saban’s staff at LSU in 2000 as a graduate assistant. Kitchens spent 2001-03 as running backs coach at North Texas. He moved to Mississippi State in 2004 and spent two seasons, working with tight ends in 2004 and running backs in 2005.
He moved to the NFL in 2006, coaching tight ends for the Dallas Cowboys in 2006. He joined the Cardinals in 2007 as tight ends coach. He recently was moved to quarterbacks coach.