INDIANAPOLIS -- Jermaine O'Neal's sprained knee is worse
than first believed, but the Indiana star started Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.
An MRI exam on Sunday showed bruising on the medial and lateral sides of O'Neal's knee, which was then drained after the team's morning shootaround, Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said.
"I know he's hurting and that's a problem," Carlisle told the media before the game. "He feels like he's going to play. Once he gets in there, we'll see how it goes."
O'Neal, 6-foot-11, was injured in the first quarter of Game 4
when he landed awkwardly after jumping for a rebound with Detroit's
Point guard Jamaal Tinsley is also banged up, with injuries to
his left hamstring, knee and ankle. Tinsley was limping after the
shootaround but was determined to play in Game 5. The best-of-seven
series, tied 2-2, was to resume Sunday night.
"I have to figure a way to stay out there and keep it loose,"
Tinsley said. "It limits me being creative, me being aggressive,
getting into the paint."
When asked to characterize his condition in terms of percentage,
Tinsley said: "It's the playoffs. There are no percents. You just
Tinsley's backup, Anthony Johnson, missed the shootaround
because he felt sick. Carlisle expects him to play, but it could
further deplete an already thin backcourt.
"We've got a lot of things going on here," Carlisle said.