NEW YORK -- NBA players put union chief Billy Hunter on an indefinite leave Friday, two weeks after a report they commissioned questioned Hunter's leadership and criticized him for bad decisions and questionable business practices.
The union is forming an interim executive committee and an advisory committee, the group's president, Derek Fisher, said in a statement released Friday. An outside attorney is also being hired as players begin moving forward, likely without the man who has guided them since 1996.
Hunter's attorney responded that the actions weren't allowable under NBPA rules, setting up the possibility of a Hunter fight to keep to his job.
Fisher pushed for the outside review of Hunter and the union. That examination by a New York law firm found no illegal use of funds but cited Hunter for a number of poor choices and recommended players discuss whether he should remain in charge during their All-Star weekend meetings (see full story).
Sullinger undergoes season-ending surgery
BOSTON -- The Celtics have announced that first-round draft choice Jared Sullinger underwent successful lumbar disk surgery on Friday and will miss the rest of the season.
He is expected to be ready in time for next season's training camp.
The announcement comes five days after All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament that will keep him out for the rest of the season.
Doc Rivers told his team after Friday morning's shootaround that Sullinger would be out for the season. Guard Courtney Lee said it was "one of those moments where it's, `Man, it can't get much worse than this.'"
Hinrich's elbow to be examined
NEW YORK -- Guard Kirk Hinrich has returned to Chicago to have his right elbow examined, and the Bulls also played without center Joakim Noah and forward Carlos Boozer when they faced the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night.
Hinrich has been hampered by injuries for much of the season. He is averaging 7.0 points in 40 games.
He started Chicago's 104-88 victory at Milwaukee on Wednesday and finished with six points in 32 minutes.
The Bulls said Hinrich's status "will be determined once all medical information has been gathered."
Though the Bulls' notes said Noah had a right foot injury, coach Tom Thibodeau refused to specify before the game, calling it a "lower-body" injury. Pressed further, he said the All-Star was "nicked up."
Boozer has an injured right hamstring.
Granger could return soon
INDIANAPOLIS -- Pacers coach Frank Vogel says Danny Granger could be back on the court before the All-Star break in mid-February.
Granger has been out all season with a patellar tendinosis in his left knee, but was cleared to participate in full contact practice for the first time Thursday. Vogel says he worked for 20 minutes in half-court sets.
In early November, the Pacers said Granger could miss up to three months after getting an injection in his injured knee. Granger has been mostly quiet since the announcement.
Vogel did not give a specific target date for Granger's return but acknowledged he'd like Granger to "get his feet wet" before the All-Star game Feb. 17 so they can start working him into the lineup. Vogel says Granger is in good physical shape but not game shape.
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