NAME: Shaquille O'Neal, Kristen Clement, Mateen Cleaves
TEAMS: Los Angeles Lakers, Tennessee Lady Vols, Michigan State Spartans
POSITIONS: Center, guard, guard
OTHER ATHLETES AFFECTED
Football: Ricky Williams, New Orleans Saints; Tony Banks, Baltimore Ravens; Basketball: Karl Malone, Utah Jazz; Eric Murdock and Brian Skinner, L.A. Clippers; Derrick Coleman, Charlotte Hornets; Kelvin Cato, Houston Rockets; Baseball: Todd Dunwoody, Kansas City Royals; Phil Nevin, San Diego Padres; Hockey: J.J. Daigneault, Phoenix Coyotes; Pavel Trnka, Anaheim Mighty Ducks
HOW IT HAPPENED
After clinching the best record for the season on April 5 by scoring 49 points against the Warriors -- and assuring the Lakers home court advantage in the playoffs -- O'Neal's left ankle flared up. He sought treatment from the team trainer an hour before the next game. He also has a sore shoulder, a hamstring strain, and has complained of general fatigue.
Kristen "Ace" Clement, as she is nicknamed, twisted her ankle in the morning warm-up the morning of the NCAA championship game. X-rays showed that there were no broken bones, and she was treated before the game. But she entered the arena the night of the game on crutches and was visibly limping as she walked onto the floor.
Cleaves injured his ankle during the third quarter of the men's NCAA championship game. The injury looked devastating, but he was able to return to the game later that quarter. He needed crutches after the game to stand for the celebration.
In O'Neal's sophomore season at LSU (1990-1991), he averaged 27.6 points and 14.7 rebounds and shot .628 from the field. His rebounding average led the nation, and he was named national Player of the Year by a majority of polls. O'Neal joined the Orlando Magic at age 20 as the number one pick of the 1992 draft. In seven seasons, he has captured a scoring title and two field goal accuracy crowns and powered the Magic into the NBA Finals. He was the youngest participant ever in the NBA All-Star Game and was named 1993 NBA Rookie of the Year. Following the 1994-1995 season, O'Neal was named to the 1996 "Dream Team," which won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He signed with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent prior to the 1996-1997 season.