Bobcats' May upbeat despite second knee surgery

Updated: January 20, 2006, 8:43 PM ET
Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Sean May hobbled into the interview room on crutches while his teammates warmed up on the court. It's not the way the rookie envisioned his first season with the Charlotte Bobcats.

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May is out a minimum of six weeks after having a second surgery on his right knee Thursday.

"Having two knee surgeries in your first year in the league was not something I expected," May said. "I just want to get back healthy."

The power forward first underwent surgery on his right knee in September. He said doctors decided to leave part of the damaged cartilage in his knee, thinking it would heal.

But May continued to be plagued by knee pain. He played in the first 13 games, then missed three in a row. He returned to play in 10 more games before being shelved for 13.

"There were some games and times where I felt I was coming into my own," said May, who was averaging 8.2 points and 4.7 rebounds. "And then there were times where I was so discouraged. I wasn't able to jump, or move and cut. That's when I knew the knee was hampering the way I was playing, which wasn't good for me or this team."

May also said his father, former NBA player Scott May, urged his son to be cautious after knee problems ended his own career prematurely.

Doctors determined this week that the damaged cartilage was not healing, and a second surgery was performed to remove it.

It's the second serious injury for Sean May. He missed 25 games in his freshman season at North Carolina with a broken foot but recovered to become a dominant college player. He was chosen as the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four in March after leading the Tar Heels to the national championship.

"It gave me motivation that summer and made me a lot hungrier," May said of his college injury. "When I get back healthy now, I'm ready to show that I belong and have a great sophomore season."

May has not ruled out a return this season, but Bobcats coach and general manager Bernie Bickerstaff, who selected May with the 13th pick in last year's draft, hinted the team may shut him down for the season.

"We can't rush him, he's going to take his time and do it right," Bickerstaff said.

May is confident he will overcome his setback.

"I know I'm going to have a long, outstanding career in the NBA," May said. "That side of it I'm not too worried about."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press