Artest Out Two More Weeks as Finger Heals

by Conrad Brunner

Oct. 11, 2002

Indianapolis, Oct. 11, 2002 - It seems a little incongruous that a big, tough guy like Ron Artest could be brought to a halt by something as dainty as a pinkie.

But that is indeed the case, as he'll miss the next two weeks of the preseason to allow healing time for his dislocated left pinkie finger.

The 6-7, 246-pound forward underwent surgery on the finger on Sept. 5. He went through training camp wearing a hard brace protecting the finger but began experiencing pain earlier this week. Artest consulted with his surgeon, Dr. Michelle Carlson of New York City, and it was determined playing had disrupted the healing of the wound.

"I think I was practicing when I really wasn't supposed to and it took a beating," Artest said. "As soon as it heals, I'll be right back in the thick of things."

Artest hopes to avoid a scenario similar to last season, when he surgery on a broken ring finger on his right hand and wound up missing the first 23 games of the regular season. That finger still does not have full range of motion, and Artest suspects it never will.

He was encouraged by the most recent surgery because his finger had regained its flexibility very quickly and went ahead with practice. He'll miss at least four more preseason games, likely five, although he could return for the final tuneup on Oct. 30 against Houston in Conseco Fieldhouse.

"I was playing with one hand, but I was playing (well)," he said. "I know I've got to take care of it so in the long run, in June, it'll pay off.

"I'll be ready to play the regular season."

Artest and Reggie Miller, whose right ankle sprain is continuing its recovery, will miss the next preseason game Saturday night against Atlanta in Conseco Fieldhouse. Al Harrington, who experienced back pain in Thursday night's 95-93 loss to New Orleans in Evansville, IN, is listed as probable.

The Hawks will be without forward Glenn Robinson (sore left thigh) and guard Maurice Carter (broken nose). Forward Ira Newble missed the last two preseason games with an infected toe but returned to practice Friday.