What Indiana Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal thought was a two-week injury could end his regular season.
MRI test results Thursday revealed O'Neal will miss at least eight weeks with a significant tear in his left groin, which happened in the fourth quarter of Tuesday's 30-point loss at Cleveland.
There is a chance the All-Star forward might not be back until the playoffs, if the Pacers make it. O'Neal said he doesn't think he needs surgery.
"I believe I'm going to be back, hopefully more sooner than later, but it won't be a situation like my ankle, where it was still swollen and I was trying to play on it," O'Neal said. "It's got to be a situation where I can be 98, 99, 100 percent back because I don't want to go through a situation where it becomes a recurring issue or needs surgery."
O'Neal, who was on pace to start in next month's All-Star Game, missed six games this month because of pneumonia and a left ankle sprain.
O'Neal's groin injury leaves a shortage of big men. Scot Pollard is out indefinitely with a back injury and Jeff Foster tweaked his back in practice Thursday, leaving his status for tonight's game against Cleveland up in the air. Austin Croshere will start in O'Neal's place. There's a possibility the Pacers could try to sign a player to a 10-day contract.
"We'll look at it," Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh said.
Maybe we should have kept Samaki around afterall