Mashburn won't accompany team during playoffs

Updated: April 20, 2004, 4:36 PM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- Injured forward Jamal Mashburn was sent home Tuesday by the New Orleans Hornets because he complained publicly that the team mishandled his medical care.

"He won't be with the team the rest of the season," general manager Bob Bass said.

Mashburn, who was left off the playoff roster and ineligible for postseason play, appeared in only 19 games this season because of a bruised right knee.

Since joining the Hornets in a 2000 trade, Mashburn has missed 111 regular-season games because of injuries.

In an interview published Tuesday in The Miami Herald, Mashburn complained about his medical treatment.

"This organization and the way things were done, I've been misdiagnosed a couple of times, and it has gotten to the point where I have to take care of myself," he said. "It kind of shows you what pro sports is all about. Sometimes it's not the athlete's best interest that's in mind. They just want you out there on the court."

Bass said Mashburn's comments were "an unfortunate thing."

"It was very bad timing," Bass said. "Our team is solely focused on playing in the playoffs."

The Hornets trail the Miami Heat 1-0 in their first-round Eastern Conference series, with Game 2 on Wednesday.

When asked if he would comment on Mashburn's future with the Hornets beyond this season, Bass said, "No way. No other statements."

The 31-year-old Mashburn said he's considering retirement. He has one year remaining on his contract.

His relationship with some teammates and coach Tim Floyd has been strained, in part because he chose to rehabilitate from knee surgery last offseason in Miami. Floyd had little comment in the wake of Mashburn's departure.

"At this point, we're talking about the playoffs," Floyd said. "And that's really where our entire focus is."

Mashburn had accompanied the team to Miami, where he has a home, and watched Game 1 from the bench. He played for the Heat from 1997 to 2000.

The former All-Star forward was the Hornets' leading scorer in 2002-03, averaging 21.6 points per game. His final game this season was March 7 against Toronto.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press