It is being said on the IS site that WRTV said JO COULD be out for the rest of the year....and then this article appears.
Though Jermaine O'Neal is eliglble to return from the injured list in two more games, there appears little possibility he'll be back that soon, which means the Pacers will have to continue the small-ball style that has produced two victories in the last three games, both on the road.
"We've had kind of like five different sets of players," said Coach Rick Carlisle. "We've had to make a lot of major adjustments in a short period of time on a lot of occasions but we're getting used to it. Our team has become very adaptable. Reggie (Miller) and Jack (Stephen Jackson) are going to be important guys for us as are all of our guys. It's a tough time because of our personnel situation but we've still got to find a way to win games."
O'Neal spent Wednesday and Thursday in Los Angeles having his sprained right shoulder examined further. Carlisle said he "may be out for awhile."
"There's no official word yet but I'm starting to be afraid that this is more serious than we had hoped," Carlisle said. "It's something that's got to come from the doctors. Hopefully we'll find out more tomorrow."
Jamaal Tinsley likewise is not much closer to a return. The point guard who missed all but three games in February has yet to play this month. He has participated in limited on-court work in practice.
"At some point, I do believe he'll be back this year but I don't think it's fair to him or right for me to guess on when that could be," Carlisle said. "I can tell you he's been making steady, gradual improvement and he has done some things on the floor, but he's not ready yet."
With their primary ball-handler and lone low-post scoring threat sidelined, the Pacers have once again been forced to alter their offensive system. The presence of Dale Davis, who has averaged 29.7 minutes and 9.0 rebounds in three starts at power forward since signing with the team last Friday, allows the defensive scheme to be largely unaltered.
In the last three games since O'Neal's injury, Jackson and Miller have combined to average 47.4 points per game. The starting point guards (Anthony Johnson in Utah, Fred Jones the previous two) have averaged 18.0 points. The old inside-out philosophy has been turned, well, inside-out.
"The thing that's making it easy to drift over to this new style is this is the way everybody grew up playing," Jackson said. ."Everybody grew up playing this pickup-type of small basketball because growing up playing you don't always have a big man; sometimes you'll have a 6-5 guy playing center. Everybody has played this style of ball and everybody's used to it so if we play together this style of ball can work."