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Lakers' Star Center Shaquille O'Neal to Undergo Foot Surgery - 2002-08-23

Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal has decided to have surgery on his right foot and may not be ready for the opening game of the National Basketball Association season.

Agent Perry Rogers expects O'Neal to be operated on in the next two to three weeks and said his recovery could take six more. The Lakers begin defense of their third straight NBA title on October 29.

O'Neal will undergo surgery at the UCLA Medical Center as soon as a viral infection that caused a high fever and a swollen liver has subsided. O'Neal will have a special operation (cheilectomy), which involves removing bone spurs in a joint that have caused pain and restricted his motion.

"Shaq" played last season using a combination of medication, orthotics and other treatments to ease the pain, but no method was effective.