Jermaine O'Neal played much of the playoffs with a fractured left wrist that will require surgery, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said yesterday.

O'Neal tore cartilage in the wrist in a preseason game against the Raptors, then wore a brace when he was on the floor. He aggravated the injury in Game 2 of the Knicks series while taking a charge from Amar'e Stoudemire.

"Jermaine endured a lot this year,'' Ainge said. "Jermaine needs some pretty serious surgery on his left wrist. Jermaine is lefthanded and most people don't know this. He dunks and finishes and drives and everything with his left hand. He blocked shots and was still able to do that with his left hand, but the first game of the playoffs his left wrist was seriously hurt, fractured. He needs surgery and there will probably be pins put in his wrist.''

O'Neal, who signed a two-year deal last summer for the midlevel exception, missed 58 games this season. His left knee bothered him all season, and after taking six weeks to rest it, he opted for arthroscopic surgery in January.

When he returned in April, he fit in as a defender and shot blocker, providing sporadic offensive sparks, such as his 12-point effort off the bench in Game 1 of the Knicks series. But by the final game of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Heat, he could be seen on the floor by the bench trying to stretch his sore back.