Saturday , Feb , 04 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Chronic injury forces Pacers’ Bender to end basketball career

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) – Indiana Pacers forward Jonathan Bender
announced Saturday that he will be unable to continue his basketball career
because of a serious knee ailment.

The former first-round draft choice of the Toronto Raptors played in just two
games this season before chronic soreness in his left knee sidelined him
indefinitely. Bender, who was traded to Indiana shortly after the 1999 draft,
played in just nine games over the past two seasons.

“Due to a medical condition in my knees, I will be not be able to continue
playing basketball,” said Bender. “I feel very fortunate that I had the
opportunity to spend six seasons with the Indiana Pacers and I want to thank
the organization for their support and encouragement. I learned how to be a
professional from the best GM in the business, Donnie Walsh, and one of the
all-time greatest basketball players, Hall of Famer Larry Bird.”

In seven injury-plagued seasons with Indiana, Bender averaged 5.6 points and
2.2 rebounds. His best season came in 2001-02, when he played in 78 games and
averaged 7.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per contest.