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Heat's Mourning tears knee tendon while playing defense vs. Hawks

12/20/2007 - NBA Alonzo Mourning Miami Heat + more

ATLANTA -- Alonzo Mourning refused to leave what might have
been the last game of his career on a stretcher.

After tearing the patellar tendon in his right knee in Miami's
game against Atlanta on Wednesday night, the 37-year-old Heat
center was placed on the stretcher, but he refused the ride.

"That's not the way I envisioned myself walking off the court
for the last time in my career," he said. "I've been through so
much in my life. If I had to crawl off the court I would have.
Nobody was going to push me off on a stretcher off the court. That
wasn't going to happen."

Mourning already has said there is "zero chance" of playing
another season.

"We tried to help him up and he just said, 'It's over, it's
over,' " Miami's Udonis Haslem said.

Mourning sat up, rose to his feet and limped to the Miami bench
with the assistance of teammates. He received an ovation as he made
the slow, painful walk to the bench.

Miami spokesman Michael Lissack said an examination at Philips
Arena, including X-rays, revealed the injury. Mourning will have
more tests Thursday with team physician Dr. Harlan Selesnick,
including an MRI.

"Dr. Selesnick will let me know tomorrow," said Mourning, who
was on crutches after the game. "But obviously it's going to
require some kind of surgical procedure. And it'll be done as soon
as possible."

Lissack said it wasn't immediately known if the injury could end
Mourning's season.

Injuries such as this typically take at least three months to
heal.

When asked about Mourning's outlook, Heat coach Pat Riley said
"I think we should really wait on that. But it's not good."

"I'd never put anything past Zo. But the knee injury is ... sad
for me because I know him. I've been really close to him. It's sad
to see him really be hurt."

The Hawks outlasted the Heat 117-111 in overtime.

Mourning is in his 15th year in the NBA, including 11 seasons
with Miami.

Mourning was hurt when attempting to defend the basket on a
layup by Atlanta's Mario West. Replays showed Mourning's knee
buckled without contact from West as Mourning was about to jump.

"When I planted I felt like my foot slipped," Mourning said.
"It happened so fast though. It really did. I didn't even watch
the tape. From what everybody else told me that was watching it,
they said it looked like I slipped."

Mourning is a seven-time All-Star and two-time defensive player
of the year.

His 15 years in the league do not include a full year he missed
because of kidney problems that led to him getting a transplant in
2003.

"Each of you here know I've been through a whole lot worse than
this," Mourning said. "It's disappointing to even think that my
career would end this way, but there are so many other things that
life has to offer for me. I have a great family and I have so many
other opportunities out there."