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Friday, January 4, 2008
Ford 'feeling good,' says neck injury won't prevent return this season news services

Toronto Raptors guard T.J. Ford, unable to play since he was injured in a mid-December game against the Atlanta Hawks, said in a radio interview on Thursday that he is feeling better and insisted he will return this season.


"I'm feeling good. My body has recovered all the way and I'm not having any symptoms," Ford told Toronto radio station The Fan 590. "I'm not waking up sore anymore and I'm not having pain throughout the day."

Ford was driving to the basket when he was hit on the head by Hawks forward Al Horford, who was ejected for a flagrant foul and subsequently suspended one game by the league. Ford was taken off the court strapped to a backboard on a stretcher, and spent that night in the hospital.

Ford, who said he did not blame Horford for his injury, has visited a variety of specialists, including his former surgeon, Dr. Robert Watkins, in Los Angeles, and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Patrick O'Leary in New York. He suffers from spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the openings of the vertebra, has a history of neck injuries, and acknowledged he has considered the notion of retiring.

"I can honestly say, yeah, it definitely comes across your mind," Ford said The Fan. "Especially as soon as it happens, when you are laying on the ground. It all plays the part when you are not able to move or get up on your own.

"At the beginning you wonder if you could play again, if you should play again. It depends on how quick your body can recover, what the doctors say and what you feel in your heart."

Ford did not give a specific timetable as to when he would return to the Raptors. He said it would be this season, though he has not yet resumed any on-court activities.

"I feel I'm going to play. I know I'm going to play. It's a matter of when will I play," Ford said. "This is not something that will keep me out for the rest of the season."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.