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Bogues a no-show as Hornets open camp

October 4, 1997

FORT MILL, S.C. (AP) _ Muggsy Bogues is refusing to submit to a special examination of his chronically sore left knee, so the Charlotte Hornets are refusing to let him work out or play with the team.

The Hornets opened training camp with six guards, but without Bogues, the 10-year veteran who is the NBA’s all-time leader in assist-to-turnover ratio.

Bob Bass, the Hornets’ executive vice president of basketball operations, said Bogues came to him Friday after skipping an appointment earlier in the day to have a magnetic resonance imaging test on the knee.

``I asked him why he didn’t want to take his MRI, and he said because the other players didn’t have to,″ Bass said. ``And so I told him he wouldn’t be allowed to practice or play.″

Bass said the Hornets are insisting on the MRI because Bogues has been bothered for years by pain and stiffness in the knee and because there is little cartilage remaining in the joint. Damage was detected in a team-ordered MRI conducted in May after Charlotte was eliminated from the playoffs, and the Hornets want to assess if any subsequent problems have developed, Bass said.

The 5-foot-3 Bogues has long relied on his speed and cutting ability to help make up for being the smallest player in the NBA. But Bogues has lost some of that quickness and lateral movement in recent years.

He missed all but six games in 1995-96 following knee surgery, and knee and hamstring problems sidelined him for 17 games last season. He frequently rode an exercise bicycle at halftime of games to prevent the knee from stiffening during breaks, and he began getting regular acupuncture treatments between games to help alleviate the pain.

With Bogues at age 32 and approaching his 11th year in the league, the Hornets made several moves during the offseason designed to add youth to their backcourt. Charlotte lured point guard David Wesley from the Celtics with a seven-year, $22-million deal, and the Hornets convinced shooting guard Bobby Phills to leave the Cavaliers for a seven-year, $33-million contract.

Other guards on hand for the opening of camp included Tony Delk, a first-round draft pick last year who showed improvement throughout the season, and 1997 free agents Corey Beck and Darnell Mee.

``All we can do is play the guys that we see,″ coach Dave Cowens said. ``These guys here _ Corey Beck and Darnell Mee and guys like that _ they didn’t come in here just to get a workout. They came in to try to make the club.″

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