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Rockets’ Olajuwon May Miss 2 Mos.

November 24, 1997

HOUSTON (AP) _ Hakeem Olajuwon, the Houston Rockets’ All-Star center, could be sidelined for two months if doctors determine he needs surgery on his left knee.

Team doctors were to announce Monday whether Olajuwon would need the arthroscopic surgery or rest and rehabilitation for the injury caused by wear and tear. If doctors recommend rest, it’s not certain how long he would be sidelined.

The 34-year-old Olajuwon complained about his knee after Saturday’s game against the Golden State Warriors. He underwent a magnetic resonance imaging test Sunday.

``Normally, it comes and goes,″ Olajuwon said after the game. ``After the preseason, it’s usually gone. But it’s not going away this time. I just want to find out what it is and do whatever is necessary to correct it.″

Olajuwon was 4-for-14 from the field and scored nine points in Saturday’s 90-84 victory.

The Rockets (6-5) are off to a slow start this season, but have won their last three games. The team already has been hobbled by the loss of 34-year-old forward Charles Barkley with a groin injury. He’s expected to return after Thanksgiving.

Olajuwon had complained of trouble with his left knee early in the season. Although he has averaged 24 points on 52 percent shooting in his career, this season he’s averaging only 14.8 points with 48 percent shooting.

Olajuwon has had only one serious injury in his 14 years in the NBA, which includes championships in 1994 and ’95. In 1991, he was elbowed in the eye and missed 25 games.

He hasn’t missed more than 14 games in any other season, although he’s had a blood clot in his left leg and an irregular heartbeat. In the past five seasons, he’s missed only 26 games.

Injuries also caused problems for the aging Rockets last season. The team was 32-8 when Barkley, Olajuwon and 35-year-old Clyde Drexler started and 27-16 when at least one of them was injured. All three were injured at some point last season.

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