MRI shows bruising on sides of knee

Updated: May 30, 2004, 10:25 PM ET
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jermaine O'Neal's sprained knee is worse than first believed, but the Indiana star started Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

An MRI exam on Sunday showed bruising on the medial and lateral sides of O'Neal's knee, which was then drained after the team's morning shootaround, Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said.

"I know he's hurting and that's a problem," Carlisle told the media before the game. "He feels like he's going to play. Once he gets in there, we'll see how it goes."

O'Neal, 6-foot-11, was injured in the first quarter of Game 4 when he landed awkwardly after jumping for a rebound with Detroit's Ben Wallace.

Point guard Jamaal Tinsley is also banged up, with injuries to his left hamstring, knee and ankle. Tinsley was limping after the shootaround but was determined to play in Game 5. The best-of-seven series, tied 2-2, was to resume Sunday night.

"I have to figure a way to stay out there and keep it loose," Tinsley said. "It limits me being creative, me being aggressive, getting into the paint."

When asked to characterize his condition in terms of percentage, Tinsley said: "It's the playoffs. There are no percents. You just play."

Tinsley's backup, Anthony Johnson, missed the shootaround because he felt sick. Carlisle expects him to play, but it could further deplete an already thin backcourt.

"We've got a lot of things going on here," Carlisle said.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press