Jazz All-Star Carlos Boozer, already sidelined since Nov. 19, will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery and be lost for at least another month, vice president of basketball operations Kevin O'Connor said Tuesday.
Boozer has missed 21 games after suffering a left quadriceps tendon and knee injury six weeks ago.
Since signing with the Jazz prior to the 2004-05 season, Boozer has emerged as one of the NBA's best power forwards. But he has been less than durable, playing in 251 games and missing 110.
Boozer's surgery is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 9. It can't be performed any sooner because a laceration on his knee, suffered during rehab, is located near the scope site and must be completely healed before the procedure can be performed.
The decision to go ahead with surgery, made after consultation with Jazz team orthopedist Dr. Lyle Mason and Los Angeles-based Dr. Richard Ferkel, came one day after Boozer underwent a third MRI exam on his injured knee.
Doctors won't know for sure until the surgery, but they believe Boozer has loose particles in his knee that have been settling in the joint every time he starts to accelerate his rehab program.
That causes increased pain and swelling in the knee, which has finally forced Boozer into surgery.
A timeline for his return won't be known until after surgery, although O'Connor said, "I don't think there's any way he will be back in a month, but that will depend on what they find."
O'Connor has no plans to replace Boozer on the Jazz's 15-man roster.
"We'll struggle along with 14," he said.
Actually, the Jazz are down to 13 healthy players, with no pure power forward. Paul Millsap, who played well in place of Boozer, is still nursing a strained knee ligament he suffered on Dec. 23.
Millsap was ruled out for seven to 10 days after the injury, which means he might be able to return Friday night against the Los Angeles Lakers. But when he comes back, Millsap will likely have to wear a brace.
"What do you do about it?" said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. "If you feel sorry for yourself, you'll get killed every night."
Last season, Boozer played in 81 games and made the All-Star team for the second-straight season.
He spent the summer as a backup on the United States' Olympic team, which won the gold medal in Beijing.
In his 12 games this season, Boozer averaged 20.5 points and 11.7 rebounds. He shot 55.9 percent from the field.
"We've had a lot of guys miss games this year," Sloan said. "But our job is still the same, whoever plays. We can't worry about who's here and who's not here and all that stuff. We've got to try to get guys to play and win games."