posted on Feb, 20 2004 @ 09:25 AM
Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest will be out indefinitely after having surgery Thursday to repair torn ligaments in his left thumb.
The Pacers had no immediate timetable for his return, but seemed to be bracing for an extended stint without their best perimeter defender and
"The good news is it's not his shooting hand, the bad news is it's a surgery," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "Surgeries take a while to recover
The All-Star first injured the thumb when it got caught in the jersey of New Jersey forward Richard Jefferson during a game against the Nets on Jan.
17. He aggravated it Tuesday night against the New Orleans Hornets when he fell in the third quarter.
Artest clutched his thumb for several possessions, but played the rest of the game. He missed practice to have the thumb examined Wednesday, when it
was determined he has a torn ligament. He had surgery for a similar injury when he was a sophomore at St. John's.
Artest flew to New York on Thursday to have the surgery performed by the same doctor who operated on his hand while he was in college.
Al Harrington will start in Artest's place. It's a familiar situation for Harrington, who has started six games this season while filling in for
Jermaine O'Neal and Artest, but this will be his first extended action as a starter this season.
[Edited on 2/20/2004 by Ben]