Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons probably will have an operation to repair his badly injured right wrist soon and miss 12 weeks of play, coach Chuck Daly said today.

"It looks as though there's a distinct possibility that he'll have surgery in the very near future," Daly said. He said recovery is expected to take about 12 weeks, "which would take us pretty much through April."The regular season ends April 21.

Daly said surgery was planned for next week, and the only doubt was Thomas himself and his reluctance to miss the action.

"I know him," Daly said. "That is subject to change."

Thomas was examined Wednesday by wrist specialist Dr. Kirk Watson in Hartford, Conn. He found a ligament connecting two bones was badly damaged, allowing them to separate.

Watson gave Thomas the choice of prompt surgery or attempting to play with the painful injury through the season, then have the operation.

Thomas played against Boston that night with the wrist heavily taped but was ineffective, taking only four shots and making one.

After surgery, Thomas' wrist would be in a cast for eight weeks, followed by four weeks of rehabilitation, team physician Ben Paolucci said.

Daly said former Pistons guard John Long was a likely replacement for Thomas on the roster.