Friday , Oct , 29 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Pacers’ O’Neal expected to go on injured list

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) – Indiana Pacers forward Jermaine O’Neal is
expected to be placed on the injured list prior to the beginning of the
regular season as he continues to suffer from a sore left foot.

O’Neal originally suffered a strained ligament in the foot during a pickup
game less than a month before training camp began. He played in one preseason
game, but has been out since October 20 with the injury.

He began his own workouts Thursday and will continue through the weekend to
see how the foot responds. If the pain continues, he said he will seek a
second opinion.

“I expect to open on the injured list,” O’Neal said. “After a couple more days
of practice we’ll see where I’m at. I know for sure I won’t play next week at
all and there’s a huge possibility I will be out for a couple of weeks. So
we’ll see what happens.”

If O’Neal is placed on the IL, he’ll join starting center Jeff Foster (hip
surgery) and backup point guard Anthony Johnson (broken finger, right hand),
who both are expected to miss up to eight weeks. Austin Croshere would likely
fill O’Neal’s starting spot for the first five games of the year.

“Obviously, with Jermaine being out, I want to do as much as I can to make up
for it,” Croshere said. “He’s a very good defender and I’m never going to be a
huge shot-blocker like he is, but I can pick it up on the defensive end as
much as possible. And he’s our leading rebounder so obviously that’s going to
be huge, as well. Offensively, I’m going to have to keep doing the things I’ve
been doing throughout my career.”

A three-time All-Star, O’Neal has averaged 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per
game in eight seasons with Portland and Indiana.

The Pacers open their season on November 3 in Cleveland.