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    Default Pacers notebook: Jermaine O'Neal is a Pacer at heart

    http://www.indystar.com/article/2012...TS04/121228041

    Jermaine O誰eal spent eight seasons playing for the Indiana Pacers. He made the playoffs six times in those eight seasons. He was selected to five All-Star Games and was a Most Valuable Player candidate one year.

    That was more than four years ago.

    But when he does retire, which could be any year now for the 34-year-old veteran, he wants to retire as a Pacer.

    O誰eal was back at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday as a backup center with the Phoenix Suns.

    的 would be honored if the organization would allow me to (retire with them), the city allowed me to do that, O誰eal said. 的 can go anywhere in the world and people recognize me from my Pacers days. My heart and soul is here, and if I can get an opportunity to retire as a Pacer that would be fantastic.

    The only thing O誰eal didn稚 ?accomplish during his time with the Pacers was win an NBA title.

    The Pacers reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2004 where they lost to the Detroit Pistons.

    O誰eal was traded to the Toronto Raptors in 2008.

    After stops with the Raptors, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics, O誰eal signed with the Suns during the offseason.

    He said he doesn稚 know how many more years he plans to play, but the days of signing with title-contending teams are behind him.

    的知 taking it year to year, baby, O誰eal said. 的知 not going to chase a championship, that痴 the reason why I signed here. I just want to go somewhere and have fun. The spirit here is great, we池e not where we want to be with the record. It痴 a great atmosphere and makes you feel young all over again.

    Young sidelined
    The Pacers were short a player on the wing for the second straight game.

    Swingman Sam Young missed Friday痴 game with the flu. It痴 uncertain if he値l play tonight against the Hawks in Atlanta.

    The Pacers couldn稚 turn to rookie Orlando Johnson as the fourth wing because he was in Fort Wayne with the Mad Ants, Indiana痴 D-League affiliate.

    Vogel elected to go with a three-man wing rotation of Paul George, Lance Stephenson and Gerald Green, who missed last weekend痴 game at New Orleans with a sprained ankle.

    Working on things
    The postponement of Wednesday痴 game against the Chicago Bulls gave the Pacers five days in between games and three practice days.

    The extra day allowed the Pacers to work on their zone offense ?because the Suns used it and the Hawks will likely play some tonight.

    添ou always worry about guys staying sharp and having a little rust, but we haven稚 had a prolonged sequence where we haven稚 been playing, Vogel said.

    Call Star reporter Mike Wells at (317) 444-6053 .

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