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Pacers' Miller injured

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Published October 30, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS - It didn't take long for Austin Croshere to figure out that the Indiana Pacers lost another one of their stars to injury.

"I saw the look on the X-ray guy's face when he walked out," Croshere said. "I was like, "Are you kidding me?' "

Indiana lost Reggie Miller when the 39-year-old guard broke a bone in his left hand in the Pacers' preseason finale Friday night against Denver.

Miller left the Pacers' 98-79 loss to the Nuggets in the first quarter, clutching his non-shooting hand. Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said Miller could miss four to six weeks while recovering.

"There was definitely a cloud hanging over the game," Croshere said. "It's almost disbelief."

It was the worst kind of news for the Pacers, who are already without Jermaine O'Neal (strained ligament in left foot), Jeff Foster (hip), Anthony Johnson (broken hand), David Harrison (shoulder) and Jonathan Bender (knee).

Carlisle said Friday that O'Neal might miss the regular-season opener next week, while Foster and Johnson are expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks.

"It's a little different kind of adversity than we had last year with all these things happening at once," Carlisle said. "This is tough."

Nene had 17 points and four rebounds for Denver. Earlier in the day, the Nuggets said they picked up his $3.04-million option for next season.

Meanwhile, Pacers starting point guard Jamaal Tinsley signed a six-year contract extension on Friday.

The 6-foot-3, 183-pound Tinsley was the Pacers' first-round draft pick in 2001. He averaged 8.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 2003-04, helping the Pacers to a franchise record 61 wins.

"It feels good that I can just focus on basketball and just playing, focus on things that need to be accomplished here," Tinsley said before the preseason finale.

BLAZER SUSPENDED: Forward Qyntel Woods, already suspended by Portland following allegations of dog fighting, has been suspended without pay for five games by the NBA for violating the league's drug policy.

The NBA suspension starts with Wednesday night's season opener at Golden State.

The league and its players' association do not reveal details about drug testing.

The Blazers suspended Woods without pay during the preseason after a television news report linked him to dog fighting. Sheriff's deputies and Oregon Humane Society officials have twice searched his Lake Oswego home for evidence. No criminal charges have been brought in the case.

Woods and his agent, Raymond Brothers, have denied wrongdoing in the dog fighting case.

JAZZ LOCK UP KIRILENKO: Andrei Kirilenko signed a 6-year, $86-million contract extension, a deal that took three months of negotiations. The fourth-year All-Star forward from Russia has been with the team longer than any other current player. The extension kicks in next season and is for the maximum amount allowed under the collective bargaining agreement.

"This is the team which I love and is where I want to stay for the rest of my career," Kirilenko said. "It's pretty nice to be a part of this team - of a family actually. It's my family for the next seven years."

Meanwhile, guard Carlos Arroyo had an MRI on his left ankle a day after he was injured against New York. Results from the test were not available. Another guard, Raul Lopez, has not played this year to rest his right knee. The team said he will be re-evaluated Sunday.

SUNS CUT EISLEY: Guard Howard Eisley was waived after his contract was bought out. Terms of the buyout were not disclosed. The 31-year-old Eisley played 34 games for the Suns last season after being acquired in a Jan. 5 trade with the Knicks.

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