Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Magic think Nelson will play in Finals

Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson was said to have season-ending shoulder surgery on his torn right labrum back on Feb. 19.

That was before the Magic’s season extended into June.

Now, according to, Nelson’s teammates are optimistic that their backcourt quarterback will return to play in the Finals, which start Thursday in Los Angeles.

“I expect to see him out there at some point in the series,” backup point guard Anthony Johnson told ESPN.

Orlando GM Otis Smith, however, is not completely buying the optimism.

"It's still no in my mind," Smith said about Nelson’s possibility of returning this season. "There's a very smidgen of a chance he can play."

Nelson has been playing in full-court games and participating in non-contact drills for two weeks.

“I've been known to do some amazing things sometimes," he said, hinting at his possible return.

With Nelson on the shelf for what was supposed to be the rest of the 2009 season, the Magic traded for then-Rockets point guard Rafer Alston in part of a three-team deal on Feb. 19, the same day Nelson went under the knife.

In the deal, the Magic sent Brian Cook to the Rockets, while Adonal Foyle, Mike Wilks and a 2009 first round draft pick were sent to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Alston averaged 12 points and 5.1 assists per game for Orlando during the regular season, and his postseason numbers (12 and 4.1) have been just as consistent.

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