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CLIPPERS REPORT : NOTES

Vaught Considers Season-Ending Surgery

December 01, 1997|CHRIS BAKER

Clipper forward Loy Vaught, who has sat out five consecutive games because of a back injury, is considering season-ending back surgery, his agent said Sunday.

"It's been bothering him for a long time," said Jim McDowell, Vaught's agent. "I think he's come to a realization that it's time to get something done."

"He's been fighting it for several years and it's gotten to the point where the medication isn't allowing him to play at the level he's played at before."

Vaught, advised to change his medication by Dr. Ted Goldstein last week, will decide on surgery after getting a second opinion from Dr. Robert Watkins on Tuesday.

Vaught, who has a degeneration between the fourth and fifth disks, is considering two surgical procedures, one of which would be season ending.

Vaught, the Clippers' leading scorer (14.9 points) and rebounder (10) last season, could return this season if he has a disk removed. However, he probably would be out for the season if he has a vertebrae fusion.

"We'll meet with the Dr. Watkins Tuesday and then we'll talk to the Clippers and make a decision," McDowell said.

Vaught is averaging 7.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in 10 games this season.

*

Swingman Eric Piatkowski made the most of his first start of the season, getting 20 points and a career-best 13 rebounds in Saturday night's 94-91 loss to the Utah Jazz.

With guard Brent Barry out because of a calf injury, Piatkowski made seven of 17 shots in a career-high 41 minutes.

With the Clippers trailing, 74-70, Piatkowski made a three-point jump shot with 10:07 to play.

Piatkowski made a free throw after Howard Eisley drew a technical with 4:33 remaining to tie the score at 80-80 and made another foul shot with 3:52 left to pull the Clippers to within 82-81 after a technical on Jeff Hornacek.

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