Al Harrington will undergo season-ending surgery on his right shoulder Thursday  to repair damage to the AC joint. The move to have the surgery now rather than wait -- Harrington told us last week in Salt Lake City that he was told he will likely need surgery, but he wanted to keep playing -- will save him some time in the recovery process.

The timeframe for a return to basketball drills is 3-to-4 months, which puts Harrington -- an unrestricted free agent -- at around August, which two months before training camps open in the NBA.

The Knicks are down to 10 healthy players for tonight's game against the Pacers here in Indiana. The trip continues to Orlando, where the Knicks face the Magic on Friday. Including tonight, there are five games left in the season.

Harrington, 30, had played through various injuries this season, from chronic knee pain to the shoulder and also a left ankle injury, which he suffered in Portland last week.

The New Jersey native has hopes that the Knicks will want to re-sign him this summer, but it is highly unlikely. Harrington, who has become almost exclusively a post-up power player who can hit the occasional open three, doesn't fit in the uptempo, ball-movement system that Mike D'Antoni wants to run next season.

Still, Harrington is sure to hook up somewhere and said he'd like to do so as a role player on a contending team. He averaged 17.7 points per game this season, which is one-tenth less than the top scoring Sixth Man in the NBA, Jamal Crawford (17.8).

Harrington probably won't get much recognition for this, however, since he's played on a losing team. Other Sixth Man candidates include Anderson Varejeo of the Cleveland Cavaliers and previous winner Jason Terry of the Dallas Mavericks.

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* - Tracy McGrady is back in the lineup tonight after missing the last two games with soreness in his knee. He will start in the backcourt with Chris Duhon, who gets the start for a third straight game. Mike D'Antoni says he feels Duhon is the best point guard on the team as far as running the offense and that it's a better way to begin. He still plans to give rookie Toney Douglas a heavy workload of minutes, but this looks like D'Antoni is trying like hell to avoid that 50th loss for as long as possible or, at the very least, finish with as good of a record as he can so the Utah Jazz don't get that great of a pick.


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