Mourning's career likely over

The Baltimore Sun

Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning had surgery yesterday to repair a torn patellar tendon in his right knee and a quadriceps tear in the same leg. The injury, which he suffered Wednesday night in Miami's overtime loss at the Atlanta Hawks, will almost certainly keep the seven-time All-Star sidelined for the remainder of the season.

Because Mourning insists that this season is his last, that would mean his career is likely finished. "I lost a brother," Heat center Shaquille O'Neal said. "I lost a partner. I've lost a bodyguard."

Heat coach Pat Riley said Mourning, 37, would be in a hard cast for a month, then a soft cast for another month, followed by a period of rehabilitation that could last six more months. In 838 career regular-season games, Mourning has averaged 17.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks. He is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year.

More Heat -- Miami might protest what it believes was a scoring error in the 117-111 loss Thursday at Atlanta. O'Neal fouled out with 51 seconds remaining, but statistic sheets distributed immediately after the game showed him with five fouls. The sheet was revised to show O'Neal with six fouls, although those charting on the Miami bench also had O'Neal with five. On what the Heat says is the play in question, a foul that it contends was committed by Udonis Haslem was charged to O'Neal. Under league rules, the Heat will have 48 hours to protest to the NBA.

Knicks -- Stephon Marbury was away from the team again, and coach Isiah Thomas wasn't sure when the point guard would return. Marbury has missed six of the past nine games since his father died Dec. 2.

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