Mourning underwent surgery Thursday to repair a torn patellar tendon in his right knee and a quadriceps tear in the same leg. The 37-year-old backup center to Shaquille O'Neal is likely done for the season, and he might well have played his last game in the NBA.
"I felt bad when I heard about it, and on a number of levels," Van Gundy said. "Number one, I've known him, so there's a personal thing there. But number two, I hate to see that happen to a guy who competes that hard every single night."
Mourning signed as a free agent with the Heat in March 2005, toward the end of Van Gundy's second season as their coach. Mourning had previously spent seven years with the Heat but missed almost all of the 2000-01 season because of a kidney disorder and needed to have a kidney transplant in December 2003.
"For what he'd already been through, to come back and get to one more year and have it go like that -- that, to me, is just very, very sad," Van Gundy said.
Magic assistant coach Patrick Ewing preceded Mourning in college at Georgetown, and the two of them have kept in touch with each other over the years.
"I'm sure Patrick has talked to him," Van Gundy said. "I know he feels real bad. He's a good friend of his."
· ESPN has decided to pick up the
Magic's Jan. 25 game at Detroit, a move Van Gundy might look upon with mixed emotions.
During an ESPN telecast of a Utah-Phoenix game, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan wore a microphone and used a four-letter word after addressing his team at halftime. The word was not edited out of the telecast, which caused ESPN to issue an apology.
Van Gundy was outfitted with a microphone during the Magic's game at Charlotte on ESPN two weeks ago.
"I don't know that I can speak for everybody," he said. "But certainly most people, if you gave us a choice, we would rather not."
In light of the television contracts negotiated by the NBA, Van Gundy has a pragmatic approach toward the seeming intrusion upon his privacy.
"Do I like being miked? No," he said. "Do I want to work for half the money I'm making now? No. You have to be honest about it. If you want to get something, you've got to give up something."
· When Tracy McGrady was unable to play in the second half Wednesday night against his former team because of a sore knee, it meant no one from the 2004 blockbuster trade between the Magic and the Houston Rockets was on the floor for either team.
Steve Francis, who came over from Houston to Orlando but returned to the Rockets before this season, was on their inactive list. Tyronn Lue, Juwan Howard and Cuttino Mobley are now reserves with Atlanta, Dallas and the Los Angeles Clippers, while Kelvin Cato and Reece Gaines are no longer in the league.
McGrady also missed the Rockets' double-overtime loss Thursday night at Denver, but had 20 points and eight assists Saturday night at Chicago. The Rockets will make their only visit to Orlando all season Jan. 4.
One on One: Brian Cook, Magic forward
Having spent the previous four seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, what was it like having to play every year on Christmas?
It was cool, I'd have to say. It brought a lot of entertainment to people on that day. That's a day where people are with their families. Unfortunately, we weren't around our families as much, especially me. My family lives in Illinois. So we were either playing in Miami or out in L.A. But I can see why they have games on Christmas.
How did you pass the time in a hotel room on that day?
For me, a lot of phone calls to my family. I just try to take the day in as much as you can and know it's (about) the birth of Jesus Christ and just be thankful for another blessed year.
Are you still living out of a hotel here in Orlando?
No, I found a house in Winter Park. I've got it all settled. Right now, I'm renting some stuff from Rent-A-Center until my stuff gets here. And my family's going to come out. It's a short flight for them.
Do you still closely follow the fortunes of the Illinois basketball program?
I'm a diehard Illinois fan. That was my family for four years. And I still talk to a lot of the guys I played with. I played with James (Augustine) and Deron (Williams), Dee (Brown) and Luther Head. We're a close group. We work out in the summers. And I hold a basketball camp back there every summer, so I get to go back and be around the community and try to help the kids out.
What do you make of the turnaround of the Illini football program under Ron Zook?
In my first couple years, we went to a bowl game. We had Greg Lewis, Eugene Wilson, Brandon Lloyd, Aaron Moorehead. We had a stacked team. By my junior and senior year, it was going downhill. But, Zook has the program on the rise. I'm going to have to go with my pride and say Illinois is going to beat USC (in the Rose Bowl). I know I have a lot of friends out in L.A. who are USC fans.
Isn't Keyon Dooling also a USC fan from his years of playing with the Clippers?
He's from Missouri, so he thinks (his school) got gypped. He probably is pulling for USC a little bit. You'll have to ask him about that.
kaynak : NBA