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dirno2000
12-14-2003, 02:08 PM
By Peter May, Globe Staff, 12/13/2003

He had two words to decribe his plight: "I'm bummed."

Raef LaFrentz stayed home last night as his Celtics teammates headed for the airport and a flight to Cleveland for tonight's game against the Cavaliers. On Monday, LaFrentz is scheduled for season-ending surgery to correct the ongoing, relentless, and extremely painful tendinitis that has bothered him all season.

"It's hard to miss this much time with an injury," said LaFrentz, whose first Celtics season will consist of 17 games, the finale being last night's 18-minute, 9-point submission in Boston's 114-111 victory over Toronto. "I feel like I've been playing at half-speed out there in games and not getting a lot done in practice. I've done everything the staff has suggested, but it just hasn't gotten any better. I just feel now is the time."

LaFrentz said he knew he would have the surgery when he went out and played last night. "I had a good idea it was going to be Monday," he said. Basketball boss Danny Ainge termed the upcoming procedure "minor surgery" and said it was necessary to protect LaFrentz's long-term health and value to the franchise.

"I played with Larry [Bird] and Kevin [McHale] and others who fought through injuries and I think it shortened their careers," Ainge said. "And I also think it took away a lot of their spirit, because it's no fun to go through five hours a day of rehab."

LaFrentz is not concerned about the operation.

"I'm not worried about the surgery," he said. "But it's a long rehab because of where it is. I know what knee pain is. I've gone through a torn ACL and I've played with tendinitis in both knees. But this just didn't go away and it's time to get it under control."

Asked if he could pinpoint a time when the knee just got worse, LaFrentz said, "I don't know. It's something that's been there and it's been particularly bad the last couple months, to the point where I could go hard for only 15 minutes and not at all in practice. I'm just not doing it out there. I still feel I can do positive things, but that's not my game out there."

Ainge said, "He's in an awful lot of pain. We've been deliberating what to do and we think this is the best way to go." Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said earlier in the week that while surgery was inevitable, he hoped to have LaFrentz available for 15 minutes a game because it might translate into four or five more wins. Ainge, sensitive to that, still decided to shut the big man down.

LaFrentz was the key piece in the Oct. 20 deal with Dallas that sent Antoine Walker to the Mavericks. LaFrentz missed 13 games last season with an ankle injury and Ainge has said the Celtics knew about the tendinitis when the deal was made. But as the situation deteriorated, and rest and medication proved ineffective, the team and the player opted for the last resort.

LaFrentz, who earlier missed six games with the same problem, finished with an average of 7.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in only 19.3 minutes a game.

MavsFanFinley
12-14-2003, 02:14 PM
I feel sorry for Raef, but hopefully he can come back full force next season.

If he was still with the Mavs, what the hell would we be doing in the middle?

LRB
12-14-2003, 02:47 PM
I wouldn't wish this on any player, other than possibly Shaq, and certainly not Raef. I hope he comes back 100% and can resurrect his career.

sike
12-14-2003, 09:36 PM
Originally posted by: LRB
I wouldn't wish this on any player, other than possibly Shaq, and certainly not Raef. I hope he comes back 100% and can resurrect his career.

yeah, I really do believe that if he gets healthy he could live to be a totally average player!i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif

ames7
12-14-2003, 09:52 PM
I'm not going to go around saying I ever liked Raef b/c I didn't. When he was here, I thought he was the sparest spare of all spares. That being said, I don't wish injury on any player & it's a shame he's had such a hard time. Hope he has a full recovery.

raefformvp
12-15-2003, 07:15 AM
yeah, I really do believe that if he gets healthy he could live to be a totally average player!

Watch it Sike! You don't want to make me mad where Raef is concerned. i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif (Actually, I found your comment quite clever if you want to know the truth.)

This is truly disappointing. I was so excited about the game on Wednesday. I was finally going to see Raef play this season. Wish he could have made it through another week. Plus, my mother-in-law was going to take me to Boston in the spring to see him play. I hope that his surgery and recovery go well and that he will be back at 100% next season. In the meantime, he could move back to the DFW area during his recovery and I could once again become his psycho stalker. i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif