: Hold off on those retirement gifts for Scottie Pippen.
The Chicago Bulls forward will have surgery on his left knee Friday with the intention of playing again. There's no timetable for his return, but the forward was back less than a month after having a similar procedure last spring.
"Our intention is to see if we can get him healthy to come back and play," Bulls general manager John Paxson said Thursday after the team's practice. "This is a step-by-step process, and that's how I'm looking at it. I'm not looking at it in a negative way or in a panicked way at all."
The frustration of not being able to play is clearly getting to Pippen, who raised the possibility of retirement Wednesday when asked when he might return.
"I question myself whether or not I can play another year. Or this year," he said Wednesday. "I just have to wait and see."
But Paxson said Thursday that he and Pippen have talked often, and retirement has never come up. Pippen wasn't available for comment Thursday.
"That kind of came out of the blue," said Paxson, a teammate of Pippen's on the Bulls' first three-peat. "When you're a competitive athlete like Scottie is, there's probably a number of emotions that have gone through his mind. I think it stems from the fact he does want to be out on the floor.
"We've talked enough that I know he wants to play," Paxson added. "He thinks he can help us. I know he can help us. I'm very confident he wants to play again."
"I still think in the role we envisioned him -- playing that 20 minutes a game, 25 minutes -- that's still something I think is attainable unless you go in and there's something severely wrong with (the knee)," Paxson said. "But we're not anticipating that."