Harpring: Season, maybe career over

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Jazz forward Matt Harpring says his comeback attempt to play this season is over and his career may be as well.

The 11-year veteran has never completely recovered from an infection that developed after ankle surgery in the summer of 2008. The Jazz issued a release Thursday from Harpring, who at 33 years old with a long history of injuries did not say he was retiring but also did not leave room for another comeback attempt.

"After consultations with the doctors and based on their recommendations, I have reluctantly come to the realization that my body can simply no longer withstand the rigors of NBA games and practices," Harpring said.

Although Harpring is still under contract this season for $6.5 million, the Jazz will be eligible to recoup much of that from insurance.

Harpring has played for the Jazz since signing as a free agent in the summer of 2002, finally finding an NBA home after playing for three teams in his first four seasons.

Harpring's playing time had been dropping over the last few years as the injuries, including multiple knee surgeries and the strep infection that developed after an operation to remove a bone spur in his right ankle after the 2008 playoffs.

Harpring played through the pain in 63 games last season, but was excused from training camp this year so he could continue to try to rehabilitate at home in Atlanta.

Even after his scoring decreased, Harpring was still one of the team's hardest workers and relentless defenders, making him a favorite of coach Jerry Sloan and general manager Kevin O'Connor.

"The competitiveness he brought every game, you always knew what you were going to get from him," O'Connor said Thursday. "You knew every night."