CHICAGO -- Something that was looking more likely as each day passed became official Saturday when Indiana Pacers point guard Jamaal Tinsley said he won't play again this season because of an ongoing left knee problem. "I was going to try to come back eventually, but it was decided that I was done when I took my last MRI (on Friday)," Tinsley said before the Pacers' game against the Chicago Bulls.
Tinsley didn't go into details on what the MRI revealed, but the team has continued to call it a sore left knee since he played his last game Feb. 5.
While all signs point to forward Jermaine O'Neal (knee) returning to the lineup this season, it became more obvious that Tinsley wouldn't be back. He hasn't done any kind of on-court work in more than six weeks. Earlier this season, Tinsley finally looked like he was going to rid himself of the "injury-prone" label that has followed him the past few years. He averaged nearly 14 points and more than eight assists in the first two months of the season. His play took a turn when he injured his knee trying to split a double team against the Miami Heat on Dec. 15.
"I should have sat out when I first got hurt," Tinsley reiterated. "That's my biggest downfall, trying to play through it, which set myself back." Tinsley, who has had an up-and-down career with the Pacers, will likely be talked about in trade rumors this summer. "I don't know and I don't worry about that," Tinsley said when asked if he thought he has played his last game as a Pacer.
Harrison on defense
It wasn't long ago that Pacers center David Harrison couldn't stay out of foul trouble long enough to be a factor. Now Pacers coach Jim O'Brien is calling the athletic Harrison the team's best current interior defender. O'Neal normally holds that title but has been injured. "(Harrison) is by far our best defensive big man right now," O'Brien said. His comments came a day after Harrison played a season-high 27 minutes, scoring 10 points and blocking three shots, against the Minnesota Timberwolves. O'Brien would like to see Harrison get to the level where he is playing around 30 minutes a game.
"He's certainly capable of playing at a very high level," O'Brien said.