Pain in the Net

New Jersey Nets forward Yi Jianlian is expected to miss at least another week after needing 50 stitches to close a cut on his upper lip.

Yi was hoping to return yesterday after missing 15 games with a sprained right knee before he was inadvertently elbowed by teammate Sean Williams while playing three-on-three after practice Saturday.

"Sometimes these things work out for the best," coach Kiki Vandeweghe said before the Nets' 106-97 loss to the Knicks in New York. "He really wanted to get back, was very anxious to get back, so maybe he was hurrying himself a little bit, and he'll be fully recovered when he gets back."

Yi has been sidelined since injuring his knee in a game against Charlotte early last month. He is averaging 9.8 points and 7.5 rebounds.

The Knicks, meanwhile, received encouraging news about center Eddy Curry, who has been out with a sore left knee. Curry is expected to practice this week in hopes of returning Friday at New Orleans.

The Vince of old

Vince Carter turned back the clock Saturday in Oakland, Calif.

Carter scored 27 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 31/2 minutes to play, as the Orlando Magic beat the Golden State Warriors, 126-118.

"I'm not a big stat guy anymore," said Carter, who added seven assists and five rebounds. "I was just trying to stay aggressive, especially late getting to the free-throw line, and trying to attack the gaps. Once we came to our senses and put up more of a defensive stance, we didn't allow them to do much more."

Carter, 32, is averaging 19.7 points per game.

- Associated Press