PHILADELPHIA (AP) -Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal called sitting out the season with a bruised left knee a ``worst-case scenario'' and refused to put a timetable on his return.
``I don't know when I'm coming back,'' O'Neal said before Monday's game against Philadelphia.
The Pacers said Saturday that O'Neal would miss at least two weeks. And O'Neal acknowledged before the game that he might have rushed back too soon from offseason knee surgery.
``Missing the season is a worst-case scenario,'' O'Neal said Monday.
But he told The Indianapolis Star for Monday's edition that he was willing to sit out the rest of the season, calling it the ``prime option for me.''
O'Neal planned to visit specialists in New York or Los Angeles for additional evaluation.
Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said he expected O'Neal to return and help Indiana chase the final East playoff spot. Indiana (18-23) began Monday a half-game behind New Jersey (18-22) for eighth in the Eastern Conference standings.
``Our medical people think it's a minimum of two weeks,'' O'Brien said. ``They fully expect him to play this year.''
A six-time All-Star, O'Neal is averaging 15.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks this season, but he has missed eight games and barely practiced the last two or three weeks. Over the past 3 1/2 seasons, O'Neal has missed 90 games due to injuries, illnesses and suspensions.
``I've played at a very average level because of the pain, because of the swelling,'' O'Neal said.
He said he was surprised he has not fully recovered from last April's knee surgery to repair torn meniscus cartilage.
O'Neal even apologized to the Pacers for stepping away from basketball to recover.
``I'm not helping the team at the level I'm used to helping,'' he said.
Advertisement

Top NBA Public Bets

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Davis aims to lift visitors to victory Anthony Davis has a league-leading 599 points through 19 games. Still, even his Herculean efforts seemingly aren’t enough to pull the Pelicans out of the...
Thumbnail Whiteside takes his one-man show to Rip City After a 2-8 start out of the gate, Miami has righted itself quite nicely. But will Erik Spoelstra’s crew be able to sustain that momentum in the Pacific...
Thumbnail Rockets vs. Nuggets Prediction After stunning the Warriors last night as a double-digit underdog, will the Rockets cover again tonight when they visit the Nuggets at 10:30PM...
Thumbnail Butler aims to keep scorching nets The Cavaliers are coming off back-to-back losses heading into tonight’s game at Chicago. Can LeBron James & Co. get back on track in...
Thumbnail Pistons vs. Hawks Pick Can the Detroit Pistons continue their current hot streak on the road when they face the Atlanta Hawks tonight at 8PM...
More inNBA Articles  

NBA Team Pages