Cuttino Mobley filed a lawsuit against the Knicks Wednesday in a federal court in Manhattan claiming he was "forced and pressured" to retire as a result of tests that revealed his heart condition was more severe than previously diagnosed.

The former shooting guard was acquired by the Knicks with Tim Thomas from the Los Angeles Clippers for Zach Randolph and Mardy Collins on Nov. 21, 2008.

On Dec. 10, 2008, Mobley announced his retirement after two Knicks doctors said Mobley's heart condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) -- a thickening of the heart muscle -- had worsened.

When he announced his retirement, Mobley said, "Getting the MRI basically saved my life."

According to the suit, Mobley was first diagnosed with the ailment in 1999 but was cleared to play every year if he signed a waiver absolving teams of liability. Mobley, 36, has tried to return to the NBA but claims in the suit that no teams will sign him because of findings of the Knicks' medical staff.

The Knicks said in a statement that they were "extremely disappointed" by the lawsuit, adding that losing Mobley "was a significant setback to our team."

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"On the day of his retirement, Cuttino publicly stated that he had no choice but to follow the advice of the doctors and step away from the league," the statement added. "We are confident Cuttino's claims have no merit and will not prevail."

In the suit, Mobley claims the Knicks never gave him other options, such as having a defibrillator implanted in his heart to protect him. Mobley is seeking undisclosed compensatory damages.

HCM can be a fatal condition for athletes. Boston Celtics star Reggie Lewis and Loyola Marymount's Hank Gathers both died on the court as a result of HCM.


Date set for Melo vs. NBA

A Case Management Conference with a magistrate judge had been scheduled for Feb. 29 in the NBA players' antitrust suit against the NBA and its owners, filed Monday in Northern California District Court in the name of several players, led by Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony. But the case is now pending assignment to a federal-district court judge, as per a request from the players' legal team. The players also filed a lawsuit in Minneapolis district court on Monday.

With John Riley


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