Seattle forward has stress fracture

Updated: March 19, 2005, 1:40 AM ET
Associated Press

SEATTLE -- Vladimir Radmanovic, a valuable reserve forward for the Northwest Division-leading Seattle SuperSonics, has a stress fracture in his right leg and will be out 4-6 weeks.

Vladimir Radmanovic

Radmanovic's right leg will first be placed in a cast and then a walking boot. The injury is expected to heal without surgery.

The Sonics placed him on the injured list Friday and activated forward Damien Wilkins, who was on the injured list with right knee patella tendinitis.

Radmanovic, 24, has been promoted by the Sonics as a contender for the NBA's Sixth Man Award. He showed up Friday night in Seattle dressing room with his right leg in a cast before the Sonics' game against Orlando.

"It's hard," he said. "We've got (19) games left and now I have to sit and watch. Hopefully, I'll be ready for the playoffs and join them."

Radmanovic said he doesn't remember when he hurt his leg, but said he's been playing in pain for "about 10 games."

"It kept getting worse and worse," he said. "If I kept playing, I'd risk breaking the bone and having surgery."

Coach Nate McMillan said he might use guard Ronald Murray, who has been averaging 14.2 minutes in 38 games this season, in place of Radmanovic on Seattle's second unit. Murray is a primarily a shooter.

"Everybody is talking about the playoffs, but there's no X by our name," McMillan said.

"We've been lucky to go this far without a major injury," he said. "Now, we lose Vlade. We have to find a way to get through this."

The 6-foot-10, 227-pound Radmanovic, who was a member of the 2004 Serbia-Montenegro Olympic team, is averaging 11.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 29.5 minutes in 63 games. He is the Sonics' No. 3 scorer behind All-Stars Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, and hadn't missed a game all season.

He's a prolific 3-point shooter, making 128 in 329 attempts this season, his fourth in Seattle. He was the 12th overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft.

"It's going to be extremely tough," Allen said of the loss. "He's one of the main cogs on this team. I hope he's ready for the playoffs. We've got to keep moving."

Antonio Daniels, another top Sonics reserve, emphasized that Seattle could continue to win without Radmanovic.

"We don't need anybody to be Vlade," he said. "We just have to do the things we've been doing. If Vlade isn't at his spot, there's nothing we can do about it."

Radmanovic played in Seattle's loss at Detroit on Wednesday night, scoring nine points in 30 minutes. Radmanovic's injury will likely cause him to miss the rest of the regular season, which ends April 20.

The Sonics took a 43-20 record into the Orlando game. They also were without starting center Jerome James and reserve forward Danny Fortson. James has a right quad contusion and Fortson has a sprained left ankle.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press