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Injured Cleveland Cavaliers Center Brad Daugherty Considers Retiring

June 7, 1996 GMT

CLEVELAND (AP) _ Brad Daugherty is coming to grips with the probability that his NBA playing career is over, although the ailing Cleveland Cavaliers center has not made an official retirement decision.

Cavaliers president Wayne Embry, in a brief statement Thursday, said Daugherty ``has not officially notified the Cleveland Cavaliers of his plans to retire. Therefore, it is difficult for me to respond to questions concerning the matter.″

Daugherty could not be reached for comment Thursday. He does not have a published telephone number in Cleveland, but he told Cleveland television station WJW he has not officially announced his retirement.

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A back injury has kept Daugherty off the basketball court for more than two years. The five-time All-Star said he has seen several doctors, and all of them have told him to pursue other things.

``None was optimistic. They all said that I should not be running,″ Daugherty said in an interview with The Plain Dealer, which reported Thursday that Daugherty intends to retire. ``I am through,″ he said.

In nine NBA seasons, Daugherty averaged 19 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists a game.

Daugherty, 30, was the Cavaliers’ top pick in the 1986 draft. He played on a team that included rookies Mark Price and Ron Harper and was coached by Lenny Wilkens. The went 31-51, but won 42 games in 1987-88 and set a franchise record with 57 victories in 1988-89.

In February 1994, Daugherty suffered what was then believed to be a strained lower back.

The Cavaliers’ center missed the last 29 games of the 1993-94 season, and underwent surgery at University Hospitals in December 1994.

Surgeons removed two herniated disks in his spine that were pressing against nerves. The Cavaliers hoped Daugherty would be able to play in the second half of last season, but extensive rehabilitation failed to help.

Daugherty signed a nine-year, $43.6 million contract extension in September 1992. He is owed $22 million by the Cavaliers _ $5 million in each of the next two seasons and $5.5 million in the remaining two seasons. Insurance covers career-ending injuries.