Nelson's return doubtful
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."
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.