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T.J. Ford done for the season and says he's retiring

By Royce Young | NBA writer
The Spurs announced that backup point guard T.J. Ford is done for the season and possibly considering retirement because of spine and neck injuries.

Ford, 28, is taking an indefinite leave from basketball to try and recover and assess his options. Most recently he suffered a stinger March 7 against the Knicks and that injury combined with the others has him considering retirement.

"While this was a tough decision to make, it is what is best for me and my family at this time," said Ford in a release. "I have been blessed to play alongside wonderful teammates for great coaches and organizations from high school, to college, to the NBA. Regardless of what the future holds, I will carry the experiences, the friendships and the memories with me forever. The support I've received from family, friends and the fans has been humbling and I am looking forward to evaluating my professional options following this season."

Ford told the San Antonio Express-News, "After last Wednesday, I felt being on the floor and being in that position one too many times. I feel like that was enough for me."

While the team is calling it an "indefinite leave," Ford is calling himself done for good.

Ford joined the Spurs on Dec. 10, 2011. He appeared in 14 games for San Antonio, averaging 3.6 points, 3.2 assists and 1.3 rebounds in 13.6 minutes.

Said Gregg Popovich: "The entire organization has enjoyed having T.J. Ford in San Antonio this season. I congratulate him on all that he has achieved as a player and fully support the difficult decision he was forced to make. T.J. has a bright future ahead of him and will always be a member of the Spurs family."

Ford has played for four teams in his eight-year career -- Milwaukee, Indiana, Toronto and San Antonio. For his career, Ford played in 429 games, averaging 11.2 points, 5.8 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.16 steals 27.7 minutes per game.

So where does this leave the Spurs? Behind Tony Parker was Ford and rookie Cory Joseph. So you can either be sure the Spurs will be active at the trade deadline for a new backup or will be signing a veteran -- i.e. Mike James -- to fill that role in the future.

The Spurs are in that same old place of contending for a championship and while Ford isn't one of their key names, a quality backup point guard isn't something to take for granted. I doubt that Popovich is going to just hand it over to a rookie, so the Spurs will likely be making a transaction soon.
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