| ||PHOENIX -- Phoenix Suns forward Tom Gugliotta stepped aside
Wednesday, asking the U.S. Olympic Team to replace him for the 2000
Gugliotta underwent reconstructive knee surgery last week to
repair several ligaments after teammate Randy Livingston tumbled
into his legs beneath the Suns' bench during a March 10 game.
"It was a dream of mine as a young basketball player to one day
represent our country in the Olympic Games," Gugliotta said in a
written statement. "To be picked as one of 12 players was a
wonderful honor and a real highlight of my career."
Gugliotta said he expects to fully recover eventually, but it
will likely be four or five months before doctors can predict when
he might return. Because he won't be available for the Games in September, there has been speculation that Toronto's Vince Carter
would be named his replacement.
"The medical team is very pleased with the outcome of the
surgery of what was a significant knee injury," said Suns team doctor Richard Emerson, an
orthopedic surgeon who performed the operation. "Tom will begin
rehabilitation immediately and it is expected he will recover from
the challenging and difficult rehabilitation process."
Emerson said he reconstructed or repaired complete ruptures to
the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament, a
partial rupture of the posterior cruciate ligament and the
separation of the medial meniscus.
Emerson has estimated that it will take a year for Gugliotta to
During 54 games this season, he averaged 13.7 points, 7.9
rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.48 steals.