Aussie NBA standout ponders retirement


NEW YORK, AFP

Australia’s Luc Longley is considering retiring from the National Basketball Association after this year’s playoffs with the New York Knicks because of a chronic left knee injury. “It has been a really frustrating year,” Longley said. “Not being able to really move, run, jump, not trusting my ankle and that sort of thing.” The 7-foot-2 center has been at the center of a controversy. He has been on the injured list since he stopped taking anti-inflammatory medication to his left ankle March 6, complaining the pills were giving him severe stomachaches. But Knicks doctors said they would like him to resume medications, something Longley has long opposed, arguing it would not change the situation greatly. “I took them all year and haven’t been able to perform or function that well,” said Longley, who ruled out surgery as an option to relieve the pain. “The results would be the same as it was earlier in the year, not being able to move, run, jump, not trusting the ankle. “I think if (pills) did help, I would’ve been playing with this team. “It hasn’t been a question of Jeff (Van Gundy, New York’s coach) not playing me. It’s more a question of me not being able to move, and react to the ball.” Longley, in the third year of a six-year contract worth US$34 million, won three NBA titles with Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and was obtained by New York last September as part of a four team, 12-player deal that sent Patrick Ewing to Seattle. Longley missed the first 14 games of the season with the Knicks after hurting his right knee during Australia’s Olympic semi-final loss to France. The Aussie had spent the last two seasons of his nine-year NBA career with the Phoenix Suns, averaging 6.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. This season, his numbers dipped to 2.0 points and 2.6 rebounds in 25 games.