Cavaliers C Zydrunas Ilgauskas, whose foot problems have limited him to five games the past two seasons, has been advised by a doctor to have a screw surgically inserted into his sore left foot.

Ilgauskas was expected to be sidelined for at least eight weeks, but is now considering having the surgery on the foot he broke five games into last season.

Last week, Ilgauskas visited Bill Hamilton, a foot specialist in New York, and was told to have the procedure, which would keep him out for an indefinite period.

Ilgauskas also has spoken with two other foot specialists in Virginia and consulted with team doctors.

Ilgauskas, who signed to a six-year, $71 million contract last season, had foot problems before the Cavaliers took him in the first round of the 1996 draft.

76ERS DELAYED: The 76ers' home opener against the SuperSonics was delayed twice for nearly a half hour last night because of smoke and debris from fireworks.

The game was preceded by a brief tribute to the late Wilt Chamberlain and a rendition of the national anthem by Teddy Pendergrass, which was followed by a gaudy display of pyrotechnics, including a blowtorch. The game was stopped after only 46 seconds because players were sliding on the dusty debris.

Pregame ceremonies were marred by a power shortage, cutting short Chamberlain's tribute. While attendants swept the floor, the game clock started running.

Play finally resumed after a 10-minute delay, making the total delay 30 minutes.

B. DAVIS AILING: Hornets rookie G Baron Davis has a small piece of torn cartilage in his left knee, but likely won't need surgery.

Davis underwent an MRI exam yesterday and Glenn Perry, Charlotte's team physician, said the chipped-off piece of cartilage is so small that it likely will be absorbed.

CASSELL HONORED: Bucks G Sam Cassell was named the first NBA player of the week for the 1999-2000 season. Cassell averaged 29.0 points and 9.0 assists while shooting 69 percent from the field as the Bucks started 3-0.