Iverson out for rest of season

Allen Iverson will miss the remainder of the season, Detroit Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars announced Friday afternoon.

Iverson, who had been coming off the bench since returning from a back injury, will be shut down for the rest of the
regular season and the playoffs. The Detroit News was the first to report the development, which came days after Iverson complained about his new role.

The All-Star guard missed 16 games between Feb. 27 and March 28 after leaving a game at New Orleans with a sore back on Feb. 25.

"After talking with Allen and our medical staff, we feel that resting Allen for the remainder of the season is the best course of action at this time," Dumars said in a statement. "While he has played in our last three games, he is still feeling some discomfort and getting him physically ready to compete at the level he is accustomed to playing this late in the season does not seem possible at this point."

Iverson returned March 29 against Philadelphia and scored eight points with two assists and two rebounds in 21 minutes. In his three games back since the initial injury, he has averaged 7.7 points, 1.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 18.7 minutes a game.

Leon Rose, Iverson's agent, insisted Iverson's health was the only factor in the decision.

"There's nothing else going on," Rose said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

The Pistons began Friday as the seventh-seeded team in the Eastern Conference. They lead Chicago by a half game and Charlotte by two with less than two weeks left in the regular season.

Detroit plays Saturday in Philadelphia, where Iverson was an MVP. The 76ers traded him two years ago to Denver. The Nuggets then dealt him to the Pistons for Chauncey Billups in November.

Iverson averaged 17.4 points, 4.9 assists and 3.1 rebounds for the Pistons, who struggled to integrate him and his preference to control the basketball on offense.

While he did not contribute much on the court, his $20-plus-million contract that expires after this season gives Detroit a lot of salary-cap space to potentially make major moves this summer and next.

Iverson said the right things when he was introduced as a Piston, but didn't always do the right thing.

"One thing is for sure, I'm going to do whatever the coach wants me to do," Iverson said at a packed news conference on the day Dumars presented him with a Detroit jersey.

Less than a month later, however, Iverson was the only player who didn't show up for a practice coach Michael Curry wanted to have on Thanksgiving and was fined.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.