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Jordan Has an Early End to His Season

Pro basketball: Wizard star's right knee is slow to recover from Feb. 27 arthroscopic surgery. He vows to return to the court next season.

April 04, 2002|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A day after his worst scoring game ever, Michael Jordan woke up with a swollen right knee and decided enough was enough.

Jordan was put on the injured list Wednesday by the Washington Wizards, and he said he is done for the season.

"I think it is best at this point to rest the knee and let it heal properly," Jordan said in a statement. "I tried to get back and play as soon as possible and, early on, the knee responded well. But after the swelling this morning, I think it's best to give it rest."

Jordan ends his season with a 22.9-point scoring average, the second lowest of his career. He averaged 22.7 in his second season with the Chicago Bulls in 1985-86, when played only 18 games because of a broken foot.

Unless the Wizards overtake Indiana for the last Eastern Conference berth in the final two weeks of the season, Jordan will have played for his first non-playoff team.

Jordan, 39, reiterated he plans to play next season if he is able.

"I signed a two-year contract to play," Jordan said. "Obviously, my health will always determine my playing status. But at this time, my plan is to play next season."

Jordan rushed his rehabilitation from the arthroscopic surgery Feb. 27 for torn cartilage in the knee. He sat out only 12 games and returned March 20 in Denver. He was a reserve in all seven games after he came back, and his knee bothered him so much that he wasn't able to play unless he pedaled an exercise bicycle in the tunnel during games.

Coach Doug Collins said he went to see Jordan Tuesday night before the game against the Lakers and noticed that Jordan's knee was swollen.

"I didn't even want him to play last night," Collins said, "and you know Michael being the competitor that he is said, 'I want to give it a whirl or whatever' and I said OK.

"Now I got the call this afternoon that he recognizes the fact that the only way that knee is going to get better is to rest. And what he said to me was he's going to shut it down, let the thing heal, get the inflammation out of there. And whether that's six weeks or eight weeks or whatever it might be.

"And he's doing it with the idea that he wants to play next year."

Jordan played a career-low 12 minutes and scored a career-low two points in the 113-93 loss to the Lakers.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Jordan's Numbers

Michael Jordan's final averages for the Washington Wizards in 2001-02:

Minutes...34.9

Points...22.9

Rebounds...5.7

Assists...5.2

FG%....416

FT%....790

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