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Surgery on Knee Will Sideline Brand

Clippers: Forward could miss all of training camp. Talks on contract extension are put on hold.


The Clippers said Thursday that All-Star power forward Elton Brand, their leading scorer and rebounder last season, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and probably will sit out most--if not all--of training camp.

Orthopedic surgeon Craig Morgan of Wilmington, Del., performed a procedure to remove torn lateral meniscus cartilage. David Falk, Brand's Washington-based agent, selected Morgan, who has worked with New Jersey Net Kerry Kittles, Arizona Diamondback pitcher Curt Schilling and golfer Nancy Lopez.

Tony Daly, the Clippers' doctor, is scheduled to announce today how long Brand will sit out. Training camp opens Tuesday for the Clippers at Palm Desert. Daly had not seen Brand's post-operative imaging tests as of Thursday.

In addition to the news of Brand's surgery, the team and Falk confirmed that negotiations for a long-term contract extension were halted last week and no deal will be completed before the Oct. 31 deadline.

The Clippers also did not secure a long-term contract for center Michael Olowokandi, who signed a one-season qualifying offer worth $6.1 million Monday.

"We have agreed to terminate the negotiations," Falk said. "It was senseless to prolong it into October when it was clear we didn't have the makings of a deal."

Andy Roeser, Clipper vice president, said talks with Falk had been "cordial" and the decision to end the talks was mutual.

The Clippers were offering Brand $60 million over six seasons, according to Falk, who was seeking at least $15 million more over the same number of years. Brand is eligible for a so-called "max-out" deal of $80 million over six seasons. He will become a restricted free agent July 1.

Of undergoing knee surgery, Brand said, "I really needed it. It's not like we're trying to get at [the Clippers]. I'm not going to subject myself to surgery because I'm mad at the Clippers. It wasn't anything like that.

"I'm very confident that once I come back, I'll be feeling better than I was at the end of the summer."

Four of the 18 players on the Clippers' training camp roster--Brand, forward Lamar Odom (ankle) and guards Keyon Dooling (ankle) and Bryant Stith (knee)--will not be fit to participate because of injuries. Odom had the cast on his right ankle removed Tuesday but is still using crutches and wearing a soft boot.

The Clippers open the season Oct. 30 against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Staples Center and could be without Brand and Odom.

"We've got to make sure we don't rush him back," Clipper Coach Alvin Gentry said of Brand. "We have to make sure he's ready to play.

"Two of our best players are going to be sitting out training camp, but there's no use crying or complaining about it."

Brand injured his knee when he attempted to block Andre Miller's shot during Team USA's training camp in preparation for the World Championships last month. An MRI exam taken at the time did not reveal any damage.

"I didn't want to leave," Brand said. "I wanted the chance to represent the country. I guess I hurt [the knee] more."

After Brand returned from the World Championships he continued to work out, but still felt pain. Clipper trainer Jasen Powell told him to stay off the knee, but it still gave Brand trouble and that is when he made the decision to have the surgery.

Brand, who averaged 18.2 points and 11.6 rebounds in 80 games last season, indicated he was determined to play better than ever once he is fit.

"I'm going to still be team oriented," Brand said. "I'm not going to be selfish because I know me. But when you have 11 guys with contracts on the line, there's going to be some of that. It's obvious.

"I'm not disappointed for me because I'm going to get what I'm going to get. I'm going to play hard and play well."

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