SAN ANTONIO, March 12 (UPI) -- San Antonio Spurs guard T.J. Ford said Monday he is retiring as a player and will take a look at other opportunities to stay in the sport.
Ford said he is still physically able to play, despite having gone through years when his doctors advised against it, but a game last week when he wound up face down on the floor, unable to move, led him to his decision.
"After last Wednesday, I felt that being on the floor and being in that position and that scenario of being on the floor one too many times, I felt that was enough for me and my basketball career," Ford told sportswriters.
"So I definitely will be retiring and that was my last basketball game you guys will see me play."
Ford said the Spurs management has invited him to remain with the team to "help out and mentor." He said he would use the opportunity "to see if that's a route I want to take some day."
Ford, 28, had his playing time limited due to a series of neck and spine issues.
"While this was a tough decision to make, it is what is best for me and my family at this time," Ford said in an earlier statement.
"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 was a first-round pick in the NBA draft by Milwaukee in 2003 and averaged 11.2 points, 5.8 assists and 3.1 rebounds over 429 regular-season games.
Ford played three seasons with the Bucks before joining Toronto for two years and then Indiana for three. He signed with San Antonio this season but injuries limited his play to 14 games.
Ford collected several Player-of-the-Year honors in 2003, his second and final season as a collegiate player at Texas.
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