Heat C O'Neal to have knee surgery, out 4-6 weeks

Nov 18, 2006 - 1:21 AM MIAMI (Ticker) - The Miami Heat are used to doing battle without their biggest weapon. But the defending NBA champions will be without Shaquille O'Neal for more than a month.

The superstar center will need surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee and is expected to miss four to six weeks. The date for the surgery has yet to be determined.

O'Neal, 34, has been one of the most dominant players in the NBA throughout his career, but has struggled to stay on the court in recent campaigns. He had missed four of Miami's first seven contests already this season with a bruised left knee.

Team medical personnel determined that it was more than a bruise and recommended surgery after an MRI revealed torn cartilage.

O'Neal suffered the injury when he collided with Houston Rockets forward Chuck Hayes in a November 12 game.

The Heat have been through this before with O'Neal. Last season, the 7-1 O'Neal missed 23 games with an assortment of injuries but returned to help lead Miami to its first NBA title.

A 13-time All-Star and former MVP, O'Neal is averaging 14.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.0 block in 30.8 minutes per game this season.

O'Neal is admittedly not the player he was earlier this decade when he was leading the Los Angeles Lakers to three straight titles but can still impact a game.

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