View Full Version : OíNealís Return Big Lift For Pacers

10-19-2005, 07:12 PM
OíNealís Return Big Lift For Pacers

By Conrad Brunner | Oct. 19, 2005 When Jermaine O'Neal makes his debut Thursday night against Minnesota in Billings, Mont., it will signal a new and very welcome phase in the Pacers' preseason preparation process: a beginning of a return to normalcy.


O'Neal missed the first four games as a precaution after suffering a bruised thigh in practice Oct. 7. He was one of eight players to sit out the 93-84 victory over Minnesota last Friday, and one of four to miss the 94-81 victory over San Antonio on Tuesday night. His return reduces the number of injured to three and gives the team a legitimate low-post presence, which will allow Coach Rick Carlisle and his staff to run the team's regular offensive sets.

"That adds a different type of post dimension, along with Ron (Artest) at (small forward)," said Carlisle. "Getting Jermaine and hopefully when ever we can get (Scot) Pollard, (David) Harrison and (Jeff) Foster back in there, we're going to be playing quite differently than we are right now because of those dynamics. So it's a challenge, but we've got to press on. We've still got a lot of things to get in. We've got a busy schedule in the next week-and-a-half and it's going to be tough for us. It's going to take every bit of concentration that we have as a team because the travel's going to be heavy and we're playing some good teams."

While the regular centers recover, O'Neal will move into the middle on close to a full-time basis, possibly for the remainder of the preseason and the early stages of the regular season. Pollard (calf) and Foster (Achilles) aren't expected back this month. Harrison (abdomen) could return within 10 days.

"My plan is to play," O'Neal said. "I've been practicing every day. I'm ready. I just need to get re-acquainted with the team. I've been practicing with them, so I just have to get into game situations. And I'm going to be playing more center, so I have an adjustment there, as well. To me, it's really nothing different. I'm a lot stronger so I'm prepared for it. It really doesn't matter what position I play. I'm just focused on playing hard and getting the job done."

The Pacers have posted a 3-1 record despite the injury problems but Carlisle is something less than impressed.


"I don't think there's anything less significant than an exhibition record," he said. "San Antonio's 0-5 and they're by far the favorites to win the championship. The thing that I've made clear to our guys is we can't let the fact that we're winning a few games getting in the way of us getting better and understanding there's a long way to go. We watched some tape today and there's a lot of areas we need to do better in."

Chief among them are ball movement and turnovers. The Pacers had 16 assists and 18 turnovers against the Spurs, continuing their preseason trend. Overall, they have more turnovers (71) than assists (69).

"Our turnover number is high and we've got to get better there," Carlisle said. "We had some guys play well individually (against the Spurs) and at times did some good things as a team but forget the won-lost record; you've got to look at where you are and right now we need to get better in a lot of areas."

After facing Minnesota, the Pacers conclude their preseason schedule with three games in four nights next week, beginning Tuesday night in San Antonio. The final preseason home game is Oct. 28 against Washington.

10-19-2005, 07:30 PM
Is the Montana game televised?

10-19-2005, 07:43 PM
I love JO. Let's just hope we don't return to that 'throw it into the post and watch' offense again. I hope JO can return to the more agile, more athletic JO we all know and love.

10-19-2005, 07:59 PM
:yes: JO!!!! yea boiii!!!!!
they said the offense was going to "work around" him...

10-19-2005, 08:19 PM
Alright, now let's get david back.....

10-19-2005, 08:50 PM
:nod: one big guy bak is nice...but 3 big guys are GREAT!