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Iverson out Wednesday and Friday, perhaps longer

Posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2003

PHILADELPHIA Allen Iverson says he definitely won't play Wednesday or Friday because of a swollen right knee, an injury that could keep him sidelined even longer.

The NBA's leading scorer has missed two of the team's last three games. Philadelphia has four more games before beginning a five-game Western road trip Dec. 26 at the Los Angeles Clippers.

''I don't want to go out West if I'm not able to play. The only thing that's going to do is bother me,'' Iverson said Tuesday. ''One day, I'll wake up and feel a little better and try and go out there and play, and that might not be the best thing.''

Asked whether team doctors have let him know when his knee will be healed, Iverson said: ''They can't tell me. Nobody's been able to tell me how long it's going to take.''

The 76ers' first home game after the trip is Jan. 5 against Milwaukee.

Iverson is averaging 28.9 points, 6.1 assists and 3.8 rebounds for the Atlantic Division-leading 76ers (12-12) while playing a league-leading 43.7 minutes per game.

''We're not going to jeopardize his long-term career,'' coach Randy Ayers said. ''We won't play him until he feels healthy enough to play, and I think you have to let players make that decision. We'll wait to see when he feels right.''

Iverson was hurt in a game against Chicago on Dec. 4, when he slipped and hit the court hard. Iverson finished the game but said the knee started to swell on the plane and has bothered him since.

He played 44 minutes the next night against Miami, sat out a game against Detroit, then returned to shoot 6-for-22 from the floor in 44 minutes against Denver on Friday.

''I honestly wish they could put me on the injured list so when I come to the games, I don't try to go out there and play. They tell me they don't have any room,'' Iverson said at practice.

''I'm not in a lot of pain. I'm not able to move like I want to move.''

Philadelphia lists Iverson's status as day-to-day. He played all 82 games for the first time in his career last season.

Injuries have left the 76ers short-handed most of this season, including four games where only nine players dressed. The team has the maximum allotment of three players on the injured list: Will Green, Todd MacCulloch and Monty Williams.

Marc Jackson is expected to be sidelined at least a month after hand surgery. Glenn Robinson and Derrick Coleman also have been hampered by injuries.

''I can't do anything to help this team,'' Iverson said. ''I want to make sure I'm 100 percent when I come back.''

Sitting out has been frustrating for Iverson, the slight 6-footer known for willing himself to play when hurt.

''Usually when I have injuries, I feel like I can play through them and help my teammates,'' he said. ''Right now, I feel like the way I am, I wouldn't be helping, I'd be hurting.''



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