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Oden To Miss Hoosier Homecoming Versus Pacers Squad

Last updated on Saturday, February 9, 2008

(INDIANAPOLIS) - The Indiana Pacers return to action tonight as they host the Portland Trailblazers at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Tonight would have been homecoming for Greg Oden, but a knee injury has forced Oden out for the season and will not make the trip to Indy.

The Pacers snapped a season-high seven-game losing streak with a 103-100 win over the New York Knicks Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. With that win, the Pacers moved to within a half-game of the New Jersey Nets for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff berth.

The Trail Blazers are 28-and-21 and were in Detroit Friday night to face the Pistons. Saturday's game is the first of three in five days for the blue and gold before they head to the all-star break.

There is still no word as to if or when the Pacers expect Jermaine O'Neal to return to the lineup. O'Neal has missed the last ten games as he rehabilitates his surgically repaired left knee. O'Neal had surgery to repair torn cartilage in the knee last April and believes he aggravated the injury by returning too soon.

O'Neal has said that he will not return until he is positive that the knee is fully healed, even if it means sitting out the remainder of this season. Head Coach Jim O'Brien said before Wednesday's game in New York that he expected O'Neal to return after the all-star break, but had no timetable for the six-time all-star's return.

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