Stockton vows to be ready for Barcelona

July 01, 1992|By Ken Rosenthal | Ken Rosenthal,Evening Sun Staff

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Hold off on the Isiah Thomas debate: One day after fracturing his right leg, U.S. Olympic guard John Stockton vowed to rejoin the Dream Team in Barcelona.

How is it possible to recover from a broken leg in three weeks? Because Stockton's injury is an undisplaced fracture, meaning it only shows up on the X-ray and isn't as serious as it sounds.

Team doctors said yesterday that Stockton might be able to resume basketball activities shortly without jeopardizing his NBA career. Stockton compared the pain to a bad charley horse. His lower leg is not in a cast. He is not even on crutches.

"My plans right now are to play," the Utah Jazz guard said. "I know I'm a fast healer. I know I'm in good shape. I'm going to stay in shape. I fully expect to be there and to be playing in Barcelona.

"It's one of the most important things in my life, certainly in my career," continued Stockton, who was one of the final cuts from the 1984 Olympic team. "If it's necessary to play with pain, I intend to do it."

Stockton said he will recuperate under the supervision of Utah team doctors, and team officials will have input into his decision.

Karl Malone, his Jazz and Olympic teammate, said last night he was "scared" to speak with Utah coach Jerry Sloan, explaining, "I'm afraid he might say, 'Go home.' "

U.S. coach Chuck Daly has until July 15 to set his 12-man Olympic roster. Forward Larry Bird sat out his second straight game with a sore back, but he also expects to play in Barcelona.

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