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Person files protest, says he isn't injured

By Ira Winderman
Staff Writer
Posted January 29 2005

ATLANTA Claiming he unwittingly was pushed into a stint on the injured list, forward Wesley Person has filed a protest against the Heat through the National Basketball Players Association.

Listed by the Heat with tendinitis in his right knee, Person said he has no such ailment.



"Either they waive me or they trade me," he said before Friday's game against the Hawks.

Person was informed of the move by the team before Wednesday's game in Toronto, the day the Heat added free-agent swingman Qyntel Woods.

"They called me when I was taking my nap," he said. "And all of a sudden they said they're putting me on the injured list. What can I say? They said I agreed to it.

"Once I woke up and came to my senses, I was like, `Hold on now.'"

Under NBA rules, a player cannot be stashed on the injured list without his consent. In such cases, if a review by an independent physician fails to disclose an ailment, the player either must be reinstated or declared a free agent.

The Heat has been trying to trade Person and his $1.6 million salary, but teams have balked at taking on the 3-point specialist's 2005-06 option year. The 33-year-old said he previously would have waived that $1.8 million salary, but not now.

"The time has come for me to go," he said. "I know I won't play here. I know I'm not in their plans."

Person started three games earlier this season, but has played only 27 total minutes since Dec. 4. He said he is concerned about his reputation being sullied, and said he remains unsure why he so quickly fell out of favor.

JONES SITS

Forward Eddie Jones missed Friday's game at Phillips Arena, ending a streak of 122 consecutive appearances.

The 122 games in a row had tied a similar run by former Heat power forward P.J. Brown, from April 1998 to March 2000, as sixth longest in the franchise's 17 seasons. Had Jones played Friday, he would have tied Grant Long for the team's fifth longest such streak.

Jones' streak began four games into last season. Having appeared in 81 games last season, as well as once before, the 33-year-old veteran pushed through back spasms Monday in Philadelphia amid his desire to play all 82 this season.

He was replaced in the starting lineup Friday by Shandon Anderson.

PERSPECTIVE URGED

With games against Western Conference contenders Houston and Dallas up next, Heat coach Stan Van Gundy was asked about getting a better read on his team.

"You judge your team in whole," he said. "You can't look at one game and say, `Oh, that proves we're a great team,' regardless of what we do in the other games."

The Heat is 9-9 against the Western Conference.

"It doesn't mean those games won't add to those judgments on our team and evaluations on things we need to work on," Van Gundy said. "But no more so than any other game."

Ira Winderman can be reached at iwinderman@sun-sentinel.com