Amare won't be back this season

Updated: March 7, 2009, 7:11 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Phoenix Suns had hoped that if Amare Stoudemire recovered quickly enough from surgery to repair a torn retina, he could return to the team for the playoffs, if it qualified.

Stoudemire
Stoudemire

That hope was dashed Thursday, when the doctor who performed Stoudemire's surgery ruled out any return at all this season -- playoffs included.

"It's very difficult to explain to anyone how serious this is," Dr. Pravin Dugel said, according to The Arizona Republic. "It's more serious than any knee or ankle surgery. The healing is excruciatingly slow and delicate."

It had originally been hoped that Stoudemire could recover enough to resume activity in eight weeks. But Dugel said the recovery could take months, according to the report. And Stoudemire is not even allowed to attend Suns home games, due to the danger any jarring could pose.

Stoudemire suffered the injury to his right eye on Feb. 18 in a game against the Los Angeles Clippers. He suffered multiple tears and had a "very large" and "traumatic" retina detachment with blood in his right eye at the time of surgery, Dugel said.

"Now it's a matter of just waiting for his body to resorb the fluid," Dugel said, according to the report. "So far, it's resorbing slowly."

Surgery could accelerate that process, but the procedure could also cause a cataract, according to the report.

Stoudemire suffered a partially torn iris in the same eye early in training camp in October after being inadvertently poked by then-teammate Boris Diaw.

Stoudemire suffered no damage to the retina or cornea that time, but said he would likely wear protective goggles for the rest of his career to keep his eyes safe. But he ditched the goggles after seven games because he wasn't comfortable wearing them.

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