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Nuggets' Billups to Have Shoulder Surgery

December 25, 1999|From Times Wire Services

Denver Nugget guard Chauncey Billups, who is a free agent at the end of the season, reportedly will undergo shoulder surgery Monday.

The Denver Post reported that Billups has decided to repair the shoulder he separated on Dec. 16, when Sacramento King forward Predrag Stojakovic accidentally fell on it.

"It was a tough decision because everybody knows it was a big year for me, a contract year," Billups, 23, told the paper. "But the thing was, I just wanted to be healthy."

Billups said he was advised that even with rehabilitation instead of surgery there still was a 95% chance it was going to dislocate again.

Billups, the third pick in the 1997 draft, averaged 8.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 13 games this season. He missed the first nine games because of a sprained left ankle.

Last season, Billups was third on the Nuggets in scoring, averaging 13.9 points.

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Phoenix Sun rookie forward Shawn Marion, out the last 10 games because of an injured left knee, reportedly underwent surgery Thursday and is out indefinitely.

According to the Arizona Republic, Marion had loose cartilage removed from beneath his knee cap. He already was on the injured list.

Selected ninth overall out of Nevada Las Vegas, Marion had provided the Suns with versatility in the frontcourt, averaging 10.1 points and 5.7 rebounds over the first 15 games and breaking into the starting lineup.

The Suns also are without starters Penny Hardaway, Luc Longley and Tom Gugliotta and have a new coach in Scott Skiles, but have won four of their last six games and have the sixth-best record in the league at 17-9.

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