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Ref back blowing whistle

INDIANAPOLIS — Joey Crawford officiated his first NBA exhibition game Wednesday night after being suspended for the end of last season and the playoffs for improper on-court conduct.

Commissioner David Stern suspended Crawford in April for his conduct toward San Antonio's Tim Duncan. Crawford ejected Duncan from San Antonio's loss to Dallas after calling a second technical foul on the Spurs star while he was laughing on the bench. Duncan contended the official challenged him to a fight.

Stern met with Crawford and reinstated him on Sept. 15 after a favorable professional evaluation.

Crawford officiated Indiana's 101-96 exhibition win over New Orleans. The only technicals he called were against the Pacers for defensive three-second violations.

"It's good to see him back out there," Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal said. "I've always had a pretty good relationship with him. He's always been understanding to me."

CARTER, MAY UNDERGO SURGERY: Nuggets guard Anthony Carter had surgery on his right hand Wednesday and is expected to return in about six weeks.

Team officials said Carter had three screws inserted into his third metacarpal, which he fractured during practice on Saturday.

Also, Charlotte Bobcats forward Sean May is facing six to 12 months of rehabilitation after microfracture surgery on his right knee this week.

May had the surgery Tuesday in New York. It involved drilling tiny holes in bones around the knee to try to stimulate cartilage growth.

May will be on crutches for up to two months.

MAN IN THE MASK: Seattle guard Luke Ridnour broke his nose in the SuperSonics' preseason opener and will have to wear a mask for at least the next month.