The Detroit Pistons said Friday that All-Star guard Allen Iverson would miss the rest of the season -- and the playoffs if they make it -- because of a sore back.
Iverson missed 16 games from Feb. 27 to March 28. He returned for the last three games and averaged 7.7 points and 2.7 assists. He complained about his role as a reserve, saying he would rather retire than come off the bench next season.
Leon Rose, Iverson's agent, insisted Iverson's health was the only factor in the decision. "There's nothing else going on," Rose told the Associated Press by telephone.
The Pistons began Friday as the seventh-seeded team in the Eastern Conference, half a game ahead of Chicago.
Detroit plays tonight in Philadelphia, where Iverson was the league's most valuable player. The 76ers traded him two years ago to Denver and the Nuggets then dealt him to the Pistons for Chauncey Billups in November.
Iverson averaged 17.4 points and 4.9 assists for the Pistons, and his arrival started a slump that lasted much of the season, while Billups and Denver thrived.
Though Iverson contributed little on the court, his $20-million-plus contract that expires after this season gives Detroit a lot of salary cap space.
Three Heat players hurt
Three Miami Heat players were injured in a five-minute span in the second half of Friday's game against Charlotte. Forward Udonis Haslem cut his right thumb on the backboard, forward Michael Beasley twisted his right ankle and center Jermaine O'Neal also suffered an ankle injury.
The Toronto Raptors signed guard Quincy Douby to a second 10-day contract and reassigned rookie Nathan Jawai to the Idaho Stampede of the Development League. . . . New York Knicks rookie Danilo Gallinari will have back surgery next week and is expected to recover in six to eight weeks.