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Update: JO trade talks moot?

After some speculation in this space yesterday regarding the latest Jermaine O'Neal trade rumor, it appears that talk may be headed by the wayside.

As reported by

Center Jermaine O'Neal, who has been sidelined with a bruised left knee, told The Indianapolis Star for Monday's editions that he is willing to sit out the rest of the season to make sure his injury heals properly.

"That's really the prime option for me," O'Neal told the newspaper, referring to sitting out the rest of this season. "We're going to rehab now like it was the summer, with an extensive rehab. If that consists of a month or the rest of the season, I need to take the necessary steps to not come back on something that's not really healthy."

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Conventional wisdom would seem to indicate that what was left of O'Neal's trade value will be plummeting in the days to come, as this injury will only cement the perception that O'Neal is a damaged.  That said, one also has to wonder how much of his poor play can be explained by injury and as such whether or not taking the time to make a full recovery could actually allow him to become more dangerous come next season.

Ultimately, if JO does decide to sit the season, it is hard to imagine him returning to the floor in anything but an Indy uniform come next fall (who is going to take $64 million worth of risk before he has played another game?), and it will be up to him to prove his worth either to the Pacers or more likely to the rest of the league come November 2008.

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