He was supposed to be dunzo for the season, but as the Orlando Magic kept getting further and further in the postseason, the better his surgically repaired shoulder apparently started feeling. And now, Jameer Nelson is contemplating suiting up in the NBA Finals.
When this chatter began a couple of weeks ago, the Magic completely dismissed it, but now, they’re willing to think about it a bit more.
From the Orlando Sentinel:
If he’s judged healthy enough to return within the next few days, Orlando Magic all-star point guard Jameer Nelson will play against the team he was instrumental in beating twice this season — the Los Angeles Lakers — in the NBA Finals.
[GM Otis Smith] said Nelson had an MRI as recently as last week and has participated in contact drills. “It’s up in the air. We’ll see how Jameer looks the next few days,” Smith said. “There’s a few more things we have to get comfortable with. We’re looking at the pros and cons. Doctors will have to talk to doctors. If we’re at a place where Jameer can help us accomplish our goals, then maybe he can play and give us some more punch. There’s a litany of tests he’ll have to pass. His health is the main thing. We’re not going to mortgage his future.”
Nelson also will have input in the final decision. “Would I like to play? Of course. I’m a competitor,” Nelson said. “But I don’t want to do anything that would jeopardize me long-term.”
It wouldn’t exactly be Willis Reed stepping onto the Garden Floor in the ’70 Finals, but Jameer’s return could spark the Magic in a significant way. To expect much of a contribution from him after such a long layoff, though, is perhaps unrealistic.