Knee surgery sidelines Shaq for 4-6 weeks

Published November 18, 2006

MIAMI - This is one repeat the Heat didn't want: a serious early season injury to Shaquille O'Neal.

The 13-time All-Star will undergo knee surgery and be sidelined four to six weeks, the Heat said Friday. O'Neal tore cartilage in his left knee Sunday against Houston, an injury originally diagnosed as a hyperextended knee.

"I kind of knew something was wrong with him," guard Dwyane Wade said. "It's important for him to get it taken care of because we need him down the stretch."

Last season, O'Neal sprained his ankle in Miami's home opener and missed the next 18 games. He sat out a total of 23 games, and the Heat went 10-13 without him before its postseason charge to the title.

O'Neal missed Tuesday's game, practiced Thursday and was expected to play Friday against the Knicks. But the Heat announced shortly before tipoff that he would have surgery, with the date to be determined.

O'Neal, 34, wore a sport coat and tie as he watched the game from the bench. He missed two games this season with a bruised knee and will miss 18 to 25 if sidelined four to six weeks.

His latest injury, a flap tear in the articular cartilage, occurred when he collided with Chuck Hayes of Houston. Hayes is expected to miss up to two weeks with a bruised and hyperextended left knee.

The Heat has yet to put its entire starting lineup on the court together. Guard Jason Williams, returning from arthroscopic knee surgery July 21, played for the first time this season Friday. Alonzo Mourning replaced O'Neal in the lineup.

Knicks 100, Heat 76

MIAMI - Reserve Jamal Crawford scored 19, and the Knicks took advantage of O'Neal's absence. It was the third home loss in a row for the Heat. The Knicks led for most of the first half, then scored the first seven of the third quarter to go up 61-49. Miami missed eight consecutive shots, and New York ran off 12 points in a row to lead 78-55, prompting scattered boos.

Pistons 100, Wizards 91

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Richard Hamilton scored 27 and Rasheed Wallace added 20 points and 10 rebounds as the Pistons ended a two-game losing streak. Hamilton hit 11 of a career-high-tying 27 shots.


Nets 100, Pacers 91

INDIANAPOLIS - Vince Carter scored 28 and Clifford Robinson, the oldest player in the league, added a season-high 14 to lead New Jersey.

After an Indiana comeback, baskets by Carter and Nenad Krstic pushed the Nets' lead to 94-89 with under 2 minutes to go and the Pacers never recovered.

Celtics 118, Trail Blazers 90

BOSTON - Paul Pierce scored 29 in three quarters and Wally Szczerbiak added 19 to help the Celtics. The Blazers have lost four straight after getting off to a surprising 4-2 start.


Cavs 92, Timberwolves 76

CLEVELAND - LeBron James scored 37 and Zydrunas Ilgauskas matched a season high with 14, leading the Cavaliers to their fifth straight win.

James added nine rebounds and six assists for the Cavs.


Spurs 100, Bulls 83

SAN ANTONIO - Tim Duncan had 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead San Antonio. The Spurs have won six of their last seven, while Chicago has dropped four of five.


Mavs 115, Grizzlies 103

MEMPHIS - Dirk Nowitzki scored 26, Erick Dampier added 22 points and 15 rebounds, and Dallas won its fourth straight.


FAN BANNED: John Green, the fan who sparked the infamous Pistons-Pacers brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills by throwing a cup at Ron Artest, has been banned for life from Detroit home games, according to a report on USA Today's Web site.

VAN GUNDY FINED: Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy was fined $25,000 for publicly criticizing officials Sunday.

SUUPLEMENTS DEAL: The players' union has agreed to a deal with a supplement company to provide each team with $5,000 worth of its products and give players a 50 percent discount, the New York Times reported. The company, Abbott Nutrition, guarantees its EAS brand supplements do not contain any substances banned by the NBA, the newspaper said.