With O'Neal out, Davis returns to Pacers
O'Neal has a subluxated sprain of the right shoulder and will miss at least five games. He had an MRI examination before Friday night's game at Portland. The Pacers defeated the Trail Blazers 106-97 and snapped a three-game losing streak.
O'Neal was injured with 4½ minutes left in the second quarter against the Nuggets when his right arm was knocked back by Denver's Francisco Elson.
O'Neal stayed in the game after a timeout and, cradling his right arm by his side, made two left-handed free throws. He went to the locker room shortly thereafter. Initial X-Rays were negative.
Indiana went on to its third straight loss, 96-87.
The injury comes at a bad time for the Pacers, who were in the eighth and fail playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after the loss to the Nuggets. O'Neal is the Pacers' top scorer, averaging 24.8 points. He also averages nine rebounds.
The 6-foot-11, 230-pound Davis started in place of O'Neal in Friday night's game at Portland.
Davis' signing reunites him with the team where he began his career. The Pacers made him their No. 1 draft pick in 1991 (13th overall).
"It's unfortunate you have some guys that are banged up right now," he said. "But it's an opportunity for me to play and get to know the system."
The Pacers have been beset by injuries of late.
"Everybody's going to have to pick it up," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said.
Davis played nine seasons for the Pacers, averaging 9.4 points and 9.0 rebounds before he was traded to the Trail Blazers in a deal that sent O'Neal to Indiana.
Davis played four seasons for the Trail Blazers and was traded July 20, 2004, to Golden State. He played 36 games with the Warriors before he was dealt to the Hornets.
He was pursued by both the Pacers and Detroit Pistons, but ultimately settled on his former team.
"It just seemed a better fit for me," he said. "Nothing against Detroit."
The terms of Davis' contract with the Pacers were not released.
"He gives us depth up front, which is important since we've been bothered by injuries there all season, he gives us rebounding, which we need, and he's one of the best defensive post players we've ever had," team president Donnie Walsh said.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press