Report: Jeff Foster "Likely to Require" Surgery, Be Done for the Year (UPDATE)

John Hollinger casually dropped this depressing sentence in a game recap about the Nuggets. (via @pacersdigest)

Multiple sources said Denver’s longstanding pursuit of Indiana’s Jeff Foster is over because he’s likely to require surgery for his injured back and miss the rest of the season.

More crappy news from a crappy season.

(UPDATE 2: A tweet from Mike Wells suggests that surgery is not imminent: “Foster to fly to LA later this week to get another opinion on his back.”)

(UPDATE 3: The next morning, Mike Wells had this add on his blog: “Foster, who hasn’t played since the middle of December, will likely need surgery at some point, it’s just a matter of when he decides to do it. Don’t expect to see Foster play again this season.”)

This also likely spells more bad news for any Pacer fans hoping that Troy Murphy will get dealt to the Cavs — or anyone else — since the team is now probably going to have an extended stretch without the services or either Foster or Tyler Hansbrough, whose bout with an inner ear infection has left him with a troubling case of dizziness/vertigo that is unlikely to subside any time soon. I don’t think anyone within Indy’s front office sees Murphy as long-term fixture of the franchise, but a front court decimated by injuries will make it a little harder to part with one of the two guys (Murphy and Hibbert) who have produced at the big man spot.

As for Jeff, this sounds like a tough recovery for someone his age (he just turned 33). Jeff signed a contract extension just before the start of the 2008-09 and will make $6.5 million next season, which is the last year on his deal. I’m not a doctor, but, presumably, if he does have surgery, he would be able to make it back in time for the start of next season. Depending on his ability to rebound and other teams’ concern about the injury, he might now be more difficult to put into any trade, but as long as he can be on the court, he will probably retain at least most of his uncanny ability to rebound. And regardless, he will be an expiring contract that should be movable in a Matt Harpring way at the very worst.

UPDATE: Here are the details on the Harpring deal.

By sending injured Matt Harpring’s expiring $6.5 million contract to Oklahoma City along with Maynor, who makes $1.32 million, for the draft rights to Peter Fehse (who likely never will play in the NBA), the Jazz saved $7.82 million in luxury tax for the season.

Had the Jazz not made the deal, the team would have paid a total of about $13 million for the salaries and luxury tax for Harpring and Maynor, which includes getting back about $2.6 million insurance on Harpring, out for the rest of the season.

By making the deal, the Jazz only is responsible for approximately $2.7 already paid to Harpring and Maynor and the amount paid for a 13th player the team must add to fill out the roster, With that player likely to make about $500,000 the rest of the season, which is the pro-rated sum of the $825,497 minimum, and then adding the luxury tax on the player, that’s about $1.3 million. Subtract $4 million from $13 million and the Jazz save about $9 million.

Something like that wouldn’t be ideal, obviously, but if owner Herb Simon is serious about staying well below the luxury tax next season, it would at least be one cost-cutting option.

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Tags: Eric Maynor Herb Simon Jeff Foster Matt Harping Troy Murphy

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