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PISTONS' THOMAS TO HAVE SURGERY

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Isiah Thomas' wrist injury hurt too much for him to continue playing, as he had hoped to, the Detroit Pistons said Friday in announcing that their All-Star guard will undergo surgery and be out for at least 12 weeks.

``He has a very, very high pain threshold,' general manager Jack McCloskey said. ``He just couldn't go on. This is a very serious injury for him to stop playing.'The decision to have surgery now seemed to hinge, at least in part, on the desire to have Thomas in top shape for the playoffs, when Detroit hopes to make a run for a third straight NBA championship.

``He's looking forward to the playoffs,' McCloskey said.

Coach Chuck Daly said Thomas' right wrist had been painful for about nine months, but the pain became unbearable the past few weeks.

``I am prepared to go without him,' Daly said. ``You don't have a choice. I've been contemplating this for a week because of all the injuries he's had.'

Thomas was voted a starting guard for the Eastern Conference squad in the NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 10.

Joe Dumars is expected to become the starting point guard for the Pistons and Vinnie Johnson will take over as No. 1 shooting guard. Rookie Lance Blanks will move into the No. 3 guard spot and should see a lot more playing time.

After placing Thomas on the injured reserve list, the team signed former guard John Long. Long, 34, played parts of nine seasons for Detroit during 1978-89.

Thomas was examined Wednesday by wrist specialist Dr. Kirk Watson in Hartford, Conn. It was found that a ligament connecting two bones was badly damaged, allowing the bones to separate.

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