Saturday , Mar , 19 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Pacers’ O’Neal to miss remainder of regular season

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) – Indiana Pacers All-Star forward Jermaine
O’Neal confirmed on Friday that he will miss the remainder of the regular
season because of his injured shoulder. However, he hopes to return for
the first round of the playoffs should the Pacers qualify.

O’Neal sustained a subluxated sprain of the right shoulder during a March 3
loss to the Nuggets when he was hit on the right arm by Denver’s Francisco
Elson while driving to the basket. He was placed on the injured list the next
day and has missed the last seven games.

“Unfortunately, I am done for the rest of the regular season,” O’Neal said on
the team’s website. “There is a chance, if rehab goes well, that I can play
maybe in the first round of the playoffs. It just depends on what the rehab
does. I feel pretty good about it. I feel the possibility is probably greater
for me to play in the first round of the playoffs than I felt two or three
days ago.

“It’s good news because I’ve talked to a lot of doctors. It’s an injury that
could take surgery but an injury that I should wait and let it naturally heal
before I let somebody cut on me because it takes six or seven months to heal
and that would put me out a little further going into next season. I’ve prayed
and asked God to heal me and the last three days have been great for me. It’s
unfortunate that I won’t be able to play any more in the regular season.”

The 26-year-old O’Neal, who made the All-Star Game as a reserve this season,
is the Pacers’ leading scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker. He is averaging
24.8 points to go along with 9.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 41 contests,
including 39 starts.