Olajuwon out 8 weeks, will undergo surgeryAkeem Olajuwon...

Sports briefly

January 09, 1991

Olajuwon out 8 weeks, will undergo surgery

Akeem Olajuwon will undergo surgery Monday to repair damage from being elbowed on the right side of his face in a game Thursday, Rockets general manager Steve Patterson announced last night.

Olajuwon will be able to ride a stationary bike and lift weights during his recuperation, but he isn't expected to return to practice for at least eight weeks. He will likely miss nearly 30 games before he's ready to return to the lineup.

"There was the feeling that there was a 40 percent chance of complications if he didn't get the surgery," Patterson said. "We wanted to do what was best for his career over long haul so for the rest of his career and the rest of his life he'll have good eyesight."

Olajuwon was struck on the right side of his face by Chicago center Bill Cartwright. First reports indicated the 7-foot all-star would miss three to four weeks and surgery likely would not be required.

In a second examination, Dr. Robert B. Wilkins told Olajuwon on Monday there was a 50-50 chance complications from the blow could necessitate surgery to prevent vision damage.

After further consultation yesterday, Patterson said the surgery would indeed be necessary.

Baseball

Pete Rose says life in a Cincinnati halfway house will be more difficult than his time in prison.

"I think it was easier for me to do the five months in Marion [Illinois] than it probably will be to do the three months here because of my family," Rose said during an interview with "Inside Edition" that is scheduled to be broadcast today.

Rose, baseball's all-time hits leader, was released Monday after serving a prison term for tax charges. He still must serve three months in a halfway house and 1,000 hours of community service as part of his sentence. The TV news magazine show issued several quotes from the interview on yesterday.

Rose spent his time at a federal correctional facility adjacent to a maximum-security prison.

"I guess it was a prison, but it was just a camp," Rose said. "There were just two guys guarding us, and there were 280 guys . . . You were really treated like a prisoner when you went to [the main hall]. I was patted down six times a day and stripped searched once a week."

* The Pittsburgh Pirates expect to make a long-term contract offer to All-Star outfielder Bobby Bonilla in two to three weeks, but don't plan to negotiate multiyear deals with Barry Bonds or Doug Drabek.

With nine players eligible for arbitration, including Bonilla, Bonds and Drabek, team president Carl Barger hinted the fiscally conservative Pirates aren't in a financial position to offer big-money deals to so many players in the same year.

* Free-agent second baseman Marty Barrett has agreed to a minor-league contract with the San Diego Padres, and will go to spring training as a non-roster player.

Barrett, hampered by a knee injury, played just 62 games in 1990. Padres general manager Joe McIlvaine said Barrett is in good health following his rehabilitation from 1989 arthroscopic surgery to repair his right knee.

Sports agents

Sports agents Norby Walters and Lloyd Bloom will be retried separately in a sports scandal that accused them of using cash and violent threats to recruit college athletes as clients, a prosecutor says.

Both were found guilty in 1989 after a five-week jury trial, but the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals last September reversed their convictions on racketeering and fraud charges.

The appellate court said Walters had been denied a fair trial because jurors weren't allowed to properly consider his contention that he had acted without criminal intent.

Bloom was unfairly denied a request to be tried separately, the appellate court said.

The government will attempt to prove its case again in separate trials against the New York agents, said Barry Elden, a prosecutor in the appellate division of the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago.

No dates have been set for the trials, Elden said Tuesday, and he would not comment on what charges will be brought against the agents this time.

Sandbagged

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