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Nelson's return doubtful

Associated Press / June 2, 2009
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Jameer Nelson can shoot again. His injured right shoulder can take contact, and he's been cleared by doctors to practice.

Though that doesn't add up to Orlando's All-Star point guard being healthy enough to play in the NBA Finals, it does create a dilemma for the Magic's front office.

Nelson said yesterday that he has been playing full-court games, participating in contact drills and will practice with the Magic for the first time since tearing the labrum in his right shoulder Feb. 2 against the Dallas Mavericks.

"I'm a competitor," Nelson said. "No matter what the situation is, I always think I can go out there and get contact."

He had what was then called season-ending surgery Feb. 19. Nelson's rehabilitation was supposed to take at least another two months.

Magic general manager Otis Smith and coach Stan Van Gundy expressed doubt whether Nelson could seriously return for the Finals. Smith, who had repeatedly said Nelson will not play this season, said a quicker recovery and the chance of winning a championship have forced him to take a look at Nelson.

"It's still no in my mind," Smith said, adding that the team will explore the idea even if Nelson doesn't return for Game 1, which is Thursday in Los Angeles. "There's a very smidgen of a chance he can play."

Cavs ponder future
Cleveland general manager Danny Ferry said he and coach Mike Brown will begin an extensive offseason review to figure out how to take the Cavaliers further next season.

Aside from signing LeBron James to a contract extension, the Cavaliers will have to decide on how to keep forward Anderson Varejao, who may opt out of the final year of his three-year contract and become a free agent.

Cleveland will have to make decisions on forwards Wally Szczerbiak and Joe Smith, both unrestricted free agents. Forward/center Ben Wallace may retire. If the 14-year veteran does quit, the Cavs could save the $14 million he is due next season. Ferry said it will be several weeks before he speaks to Wallace.

Playoff TV ratings increase
Ratings for the Western Conference finals on ESPN increased 32 percent from the network's conference finals coverage last year. The Eastern Conference finals on TNT were up 30 percent from its conference finals coverage in 2008. For the entire playoffs, TNT's ratings were up 19 percent from a year ago. ESPN's increased 12 percent . . . Kobe Bryant is still in search of his first NBA championship without Shaquille O'Neal . . . Sixers new coach Eddie Jordan was officially introduced in Philadelphia. He promised that his Princeton offense can turn the 76ers into Eastern Conference contenders . . . Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn and Kevin McHale will meet again this week to discuss whether McHale will come back as coach.

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