4 Ocak 2008

Heat's Mourning appears finished

Alonzo Mourning of the Miami Heat is scheduled to have what is likely career-ending knee surgery.Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty ImagesAlonzo Mourning of the Miami Heat is scheduled to have what is likely career-ending knee surgery.

MIAMI - The career of Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning has likely come to an end.

The veteran big man is scheduled to have knee surgery Thursday to repair a torn patella tendon in his right knee, according to a report on the Miami Herald's Web site.

Facing a six- to eight-month recovery that will sideline him for the remainder of the season, the 37-year-old Mourning has probably played his last NBA game.

Even before he suffered the injury in Wednesday's loss to Atlanta, Mourning had said this would be the last season of his 15-year career. He did not back off that claim following Wednesday's game and seemed resigned to the idea of retirement.

"It's disappointing to think that my career may end this way," Mourning said after Wednesday's game. "But there are just so many other things that are important in life. I have my whole life to do other things."

Mourning suffered the tear as he raced down the court and planted beneath the rim to block a shot in the first quarter of the Heat's 117-111 overtime loss to the Hawks.

After crumpling to the floor, the 15-year veteran immediately grabbed at the knee and pounded his fist to the court. He was initially put on a stretcher before leaving under his own power and being helped to the locker room by his teammates.

Mourning, who had averaged 6.0 points and 3.8 rebounds entering the game, scored five points before the injury.

A seven-time All-Star, Mourning played a role in Miami's NBA title run in 2006 and is one of the most popular - and hard-working - players on the squad.

"It's tough to see a guy work so hard and go out like that," Miami swingman Ricky Davis said Wednesday.

A two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Mourning defeated the odds just by stepping on the court in recent years. He was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease in 2003 and returned for the 2004-05 season after a transplant.

The second overall pick in the 1992 draft out of Georgetown, Mourning became the latest in a line of great Hoya pivot men in the NBA, joining Patrick Ewing and Dikembe Mutombo. He has averaged 17.1 points and 8.5 rebounds in 838 career NBA games.

kaynak : NBA