Pacers' O'Neal (thigh) out for second straight game
INDIANAPOLIS -- Jermaine O'Neal was scratched from the Indiana Pacers lineup before a 99-92 victory over the Utah Jazz on Thursday night, the second straight preseason game he has missed because of a bruise to his right thigh.
O'Neal, who was celebrating his 27th birthday, played in only 44 games last season becauese of injuries to his shoulder and foot and a 15-game suspension by the NBA for his part in the brawl with Detroit fans last November.
He bruised his thigh during practice last week, although the injury is not considered serious.
"If it were the regular season, he'd probably play," Pacers spokesman David Benner said.
Utah, also playing its second preseason game, held out Carlos Boozer (hamstring) and Matt Harpring (knee) as a precaution.
During the game, Indiana's Austin Croshere strained his groin in the second quarter but returned midway through the third period and finished with 17 points, while Jamaal Tinsley strained his lower back and Scot Pollard strained his left calf in the third quarter and did not return.