All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson said Tuesday his "spirits are high" and is optimistic he can play again this season for the Orlando Magic, despite a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
Nelson said he's "not in too much pain" and will decide over
the next few weeks whether he will have surgery now or hold off and
attempt rehabilitation. If surgery is the option, his season is
likely over. If he passes on the surgery, he'll likely still miss
"Everybody's body is different," Nelson said before a
promotional event at the University of Central Florida. "My body
is obviously different than yours. You may take a year, I may take
two weeks. I won't know any timetable right now. I just have to get
treatment right now and see how I feel and where I'm at in a few
Nelson left the Magic's 105-95 loss to the Mavericks on Monday
night in the third quarter after he stole the ball from Dallas
center Erick Dampier, was fouled and hit the floor. Nelson came up
bent over and clutching his right shoulder before heading to the
locker room in pain.
He said Tuesday the tear occurred while he was ripping the ball
away from Dampier.
"I can't really say why it happened at this time," Nelson said
before the Gillette-EA SPORTS Champions of Gaming Global Finals at
UCF. "Everything happens for a reason, I understand that. I think
that's why my spirits are high."
The injury leaves the Southeast division-leading Magic (36-11)
with a major hole.
Orlando does not have a third point guard behind backup Anthony
Johnson. The Magic likely will have to sign another point guard, or
convert shooting guards J.J. Redick and Courtney Lee.
Magic general manager Otis Smith said Tuesday he had "zero"
regrets about not signing an extra point guard earlier. Now, he's
hoping to fill the gap by any means possible - including making a
trade or signing a free agent.
"I don't think anything's off the table," Smith said. "We're
actively pursuing (a deal), and have been since last night."
Nelson was having a career season, averaging 16.7 points and 5.4
assists per game. He was selected to his first All-Star Game and
was to compete in the skills challenge in Phoenix.
The Magic host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
"It's a big blow for us," center Dwight Howard said after
Monday night's loss. "I'm trying not to even think about it
because he had been playing so well for us. It's a sad day for us
Nelson missed five games earlier this season with a right hip
injury, and Orlando managed to go 4-1 behind Johnson.
A longer stretch against significantly better competition will
provide a tougher test.
"We've done it before so we'll do whatever we have to do,"
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said.
If the Magic can take any comfort in the loss, it's that they
have time to regroup before the playoffs.
Orlando has a stranglehold on the Southeast division, beginning
Tuesday with a nine-game lead over Atlanta. The Magic were three
games behind Boston for the NBA's best record.
Still, Orlando's hopes for locking up home-court advantage in
the East took a major hit.
"We don't change expectations at all," Lee said. "We can't
say that we're losing because Jameer is out. We all have to step it
up so that there's no drop off."