Laker forward Lamar Odom has decided to undergo surgery on his left shoulder that will require close to a four-month recovery.
Odom, the Lakers' leading rebounder and third-leading scorer, will have the surgery next week, probably by a doctor from the Kerlan-Jobe orthopedic institute, he said.
He sustained a tear in the labrum of his shoulder after fighting for a rebound in the Lakers' March 18 loss to the Indiana Pacers. He has not played again and had weighed the possibility of waiting longer to see if the shoulder would heal.
"Being an employee, I can't come back hurt [next season]," he said.
Odom said he wanted to leave enough time to rehabilitate "so I can help my team get out of this position we are in now, so we can never be in this position again."
The Lakers will miss the playoffs for the fifth time in the franchise's 58-year history.
Odom, who is left-handed, will be in a shoulder sling for four to six weeks after the surgery. He would not be able to shoot a basketball until August.
Odom, 25, averaged 15.2 points and 10.2 rebounds in 64 games this season.
Guard Tierre Brown's season came to an end when he was moved to the injured list to make room for Chris Mihm, who sat out five games because of a sprained ankle. Brown averaged 4.4 points and two assists in 76 games.... The Lakers could finish below the Clippers in the standings for only the third time in 27 seasons. The Lakers also finished below the Clippers in the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons.