Lopez seeking second opinion

Updated: February 23, 2005, 3:18 PM ET
Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY – A left knee injury could spell the end of the season for the Jazz's starting point guard, Raul Lopez.

An irritation in his left knee forced Lopez to the bench during a loss last week to the Lakers. It grew worse over the All-Star break.

Lopez is getting a second opinion and was scheduled to undergo an MRI, Jazz spokesman Kim Turner said Wednesday.

Raul Lopez
Lopez (left) cannot seem to catch a break.
Turner said he didn't know what caused the injury, saying it wasn't a cartilage injury.

"It's an odd problem," he said, "something he's probably going to have to have surgery for."

If surgery is required, a decision that should be made by week's end, Lopez will be lost for the season.

Lopez "was devastated when I talked to him," said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. "I feel very, very bad for him."

If he misses the remainder of this season, it will mean the 24-year-old Spaniard will have missed 133 games by the time his third NBA season ends, and played in only 113.

Lopez sat out the entire 2002-03 season after twice rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, then spent the first 21 games of this season recovering from arthroscopic surgery on the same knee.

"This is his fourth surgery, so we have to see exactly what we're talking about," said Kevin O'Connor, the Jazz's senior vice president of basketball operations. "I'm afraid that sooner or later, he has to say, I'm spending 75 percent of my career on rehab.'''

The only good news, O'Connor said, is that Lopez's ligaments are apparently intact, so this surgery might not be as serious as the ligament-replacement procedures he had for the right knee.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press