Rockets' Francis to have season-ending knee surgery
The 6-foot-3 Francis hasn't played since Dec. 15. He's appeared in only 10 games this season with three starts, averaging 5.5 points and 3.0 assists. The team said Francis will have surgery Feb. 25.
"It's definitely tough and disheartening," Francis said Thursday, 90 minutes before the Rockets played Cleveland. "Despite the way the season started, I thought I was making progress. But after rehabbing for a while, it still didn't respond in the manner I wanted it to."
Trainer Keith Jones estimated that Francis will need about four months to heal before he's even ready to practice.
"We would hope he'd be back by the start of training camp," Jones said. "I can't say if he will or he won't. That's what we're hoping."
Francis signed a one-year contract with the Rockets with an option for a second year, returning to the city where he played from 1999-2004. He was traded to Orlando in 2004 in a deal that brought Tracy McGrady to the Rockets. After two seasons with the Magic, Francis spent two seasons with New York.
The former Maryland star has career averages of 18 points and 6.0 assists, but his numbers have steadily declined since he left the Magic. Francis, who will turn 31 on Feb. 21, said he's determined to return next season.
"This is an obstacle I have to address," he said. "I still have the confidence that I can come back and play. I'm definitely in high spirits about it."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press