Knee surgery will end Vince Carter's forgetable seasonPosted: Friday March 22, 2002 12:00 PM
Updated: Friday March 22, 2002 7:37 PM
"I wanted to continue to give it all I could. My goal is to be there for the team, but I couldn't do it and be myself," Carter said Friday. "I'm not jumping ship because of the situation. It's a rough time, but I'll be here with these guys even though I won't be in action."
The Raptors, expected to contend for the Eastern Conference championship this season, have fallen out of playoff contention since Carter injured the knee in a game against San Antonio on Feb. 7.
The Raptors lost seven straight before Carter returned in an effort to end the streak. But a hobbled Carter didn't make a difference as Toronto has lost 17 of 18 games since the All-Star break to fall eight games below .500 (30-38) entering Friday's game against Cleveland. Toronto has fallen from third to 11th place in the East.
The Raptors, who have 13 games left after Friday, didn't want to risk further injury with the playoffs almost certainly out of reach.
"For Vince to continue to play would risk a more serious or chronically debilitating injury, so we need to take care of this now," team physician Paul Marks said. "Unfortunately, the knee hasn't responded the way we hoped through the process of conventional daily therapy."
Toronto general manager Glen Grunwald said a doctor has told the team there might be something else wrong with the knee.
"He's showing some symptoms. There's other issues with the knee. He wants to do a scope to make sure there are no other issues," Grunwald said.
Carter averaged 24.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 39.8 minutes in 60 games. The injury forced him to miss the All-Star game in Philadelphia.
In recent outings, Carter has not been as effective or mobile as usual and has looked in pain. He scored just 10 points in Tuesday's loss to Minnesota.
"His knee was deteriorating the more he played," Grunwald
said. "In the prior year he was able to continue to play fairly
effectively and rehab it. This time around he wasn't able to play
effectively, but more importantly he wasn't able to rehab it like
he needed to because of the problems with the tendon."