An uncertain future

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:35 AM ET

SEATTLE -- After consulting with two prominent specialists in the U.S. concerning the state of his back, neck and arms, Raptors point guard T.J. Ford is back home in Houston, contemplating his now precarious future in the NBA.

Ford, who missed the entire 2004-05 NBA season after undergoing neck surgery, has already suffered two related arm 'stingers' since last year's playoffs, and a head injury after a fall on Dec. 11 in Atlanta, and has not returned to action since.

Ford had an appointment with specialist, Dr. Patrick O'Leary in New York, his second consultation this week.

"We are consulting with a number of specialists to get as much information as possible regarding T.J.'s condition. Once enough information is compiled, we will chart a course for his return to basketball activity," Raptors president and GM Bryan Colangelo said yesterday.

The fear within the organization is that Ford's problems may result in his premature retirement from the NBA.

Ford had an appointment with back/neck specialist, Dr. Patrick O'Leary in New York on Wednesday, after previously consulting Los Angeles specialist Dr. Robert Watkins, on Monday. Ford departed New York yesterday. He will not join the team for the remainder of the club's current four-game west coast swing (with games tonight in Seattle and tomorrow in Phoenix), but is expected to meet up with the club when they convene on Dec.26 in San Antonio. The Raptors will practice for two days in San Antonio in preparation for their game against the Spurs on Dec.28 at the AT&T Center.

"We are consulting with a number of specialists to get as much information as possible regarding T.J.'s condition. Once enough information is compiled, we will chart a course for his return to basketball activity," Raptors President and GM Bryan Colangelo said, adding that the club will probably send Ford to even more specialists to get a clearer picture of his condition.

The fear within the organization is that Ford's back/neck problems may eventually result in his premature retirement from the NBA.


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