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Skiles Says Problems Behind Him

July 21, 1987

Scott Skiles says he's ready to overcome back problems and an image as, in his words, "a hothead, a junkie, a drunk," and play regularly for the Indiana Pacers in the National Basketball Assn.

The former Michigan State star played only 13 games with the Milwaukee Bucks last season and was traded to the Indianapolis Pacers for a second-round draft choice in 1989.

Skiles was slowed by a herniated disk injury last season, after a college career marked by legal problems caused by drug and alcohol use. He was fined in Michigan for drunken driving, and was convicted in Indiana two years ago for misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

"I have a lot of regrets about that time," he said. "I feel particularly bad about the effects it had on my family, my friends and Michigan State, especially Jud (Heathcote, the Spartans' coach).

"After my trouble, I had four or five PR people contacting me. They wanted to market me. They wanted to change my image. But I am not going to pretend to be somebody I'm not."

Skiles said he once believed he could always play with pain--before his disk problems began. He said he knew he wasn't helping his team when Atlanta's Doc Rivers went around him at least three times in one game.

"Now I know that Doc Rivers is faster than I am, but there is no way he should have beaten me that many times," he said.

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