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2 Hurt Suns Players To Return Soon

January 4, 2001

PHOENIX (AP) _ The Phoenix Suns may get two key backcourt players off the injured list in the next week.

Penny Hardaway, who has yet to play this season while recovering from offseason surgery on his left knee, expects to play in a home game Sunday against Minnesota.

Mario Elie, who started in Hardaway’s place until he broke a finger on his left hand against San Antonio on Dec. 13, said he’d return Jan. 11 against Indiana.

``They said I could probably be active next Thursday, so I’m real excited,″ Elie said. ``It’s going to be sore probably a week from getting it whacked, but I’ve played with pain before.″

Hardaway said his knee was weak _ but not sore _ after practice.

``Man, I’ve waited long enough and let the leg heal enough _ to where I feel comfortable getting out there on the floor,″ he said. ``It was a decision that we made three or four days ago, and I picked Sunday.″

He has been lifting weights with strength and conditioning coach Robin Pound and plans to continue to rehabilitate the knee while playing his way into shape.

``Right now I’m winded, and that’s about it, so that’s the great thing,″ Hardaway said.

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