Harrington Gets Good News from MRI

By Conrad Brunner
Indianapolis, Jan. 30, 2004
Al Harrington's knee still hurts. But at least he knows the pain isn't caused by a structural problem, thanks to the results of an MRI taken Thursday.
"I'm all right," Harrington said after practice Friday afternoon. "There was nothing on my MRI. It looked perfect. So I guess I'll just have to continue my treatments."

Harrington has been bothered by pain in the knee - which was surgically repaired after he tore ligaments in a game against Boston on Jan. 23, 2001 - and originally thought it was a bone bruise resulting from a collision wtih Jermaine O'Neal in an informal scrimmage. But subsequent examination has revealed that scar tissue from the surgery is rubbing a nerve in the knee, causing the pain.

Harrington will continue undergoing massage and ultrasound therapy in an effort to minimize the scar tissue and ease the problem. He already has demonstrated a remarkable capacity for playing with pain; he totaled 45 points on 17 of 30 shooting (.567) in the last two games.

"I shouldn't miss any games," he said. "On the days I'm really sore, I guess I'll just try to sit out of practice."

Harrington is one of several players who have been battling minor ailments. Ron Artest (sprained left thumb) and Jeff Foster (dislocated right ring finger) have been playing with taped hands. Jonathan Bender has spent the last five games on the injured list with a sore knee; he's eligible to be activated for Saturday night's game against Boston. Scot Pollard missed two games with a stomach virus but has returned to action.

The news of Harrington's MRI was welcomed by coach Rick Carlisle.

"The good news is, I believe we have a pretty good handle on the situation," he said. "Al's going to do whatever he has to do to help the team. If he has to take a practice off, we'll let him do that. We know he's a guy that wants to be out there. Our whole team is like that."

One of the leading candidates for the NBA Sixth Man award, Harrington ranks third on the team in minutes (30.9), scoring (13.1) and rebounding (6.7).