Originally created 12/04/01

Jordan 'very questionable' for Tuesday's game



WASHINGTON -- Michael Jordan is almost certain to miss the Washington Wizards' game at San Antonio on Tuesday because of a knee injury.

Coach Doug Collins said Monday that Jordan was "very questionable" to play against the Spurs but might be ready for Thursday night's game against the Houston Rockets.

Jordan was undergoing an MRI in Chicago while the Wizards were practicing Monday morning. Trainer Steve Stricker had no information on the results, but he said general manager Wes Unseld would release a statement later in the day.

Jordan last missed an NBA game because of injury on March 5, 1993, also against San Antonio, when he was hospitalized with a foot infection.

Jordan hyperextended the knee during a preseason game and recently had fluid drained from it. He has been bothered by soreness and swelling in the knee on top of the tendinitis he has suffered in both knees since he resumed workouts earlier this year.

The best remedy usually is rest, which means Jordan could go on the injured list and miss a handful of games. If tests show ligament or cartilage damage or worse, he'll be out much longer.

"I have to make sure there's no ligament damage, and get it treated, get it drained and see what the doctors say I have to do and see if I can get rid of it," Jordan said after Saturday night's loss to the Orlando Magic.

If Jordan is placed on the injured list, he would have to miss five games unless the Wizards leave a roster spot open. The San Antonio game is the start of a four-game road trip.

Collins said he was unsure who would start at small forward if Jordan can't play. Courtney Alexander's confidence is shaken, and he's played little recently, so the coach said rookie Kwame Brown might fill the spot.

"We don't have a natural small forward," Collins said.

Jordan went to Chicago after Saturday's game to see Dr. John Heffron, the Bulls' former team physician.

"I'd rather continue to play," Jordan said. "But if it's not going to get any better other than me sitting out - long-term, I want to play later in the season."

Saturday's game was the fourth in five night for the Wizards, but Collins said Jordan has been ailing all season. Jordan's inability to practice most days has made it hard to develop team chemistry on the court.

"Michael can't go through a full practice," Collins said. "They don't get much practice time with MJ. We've got to keep him fresh for the game. I can't ask Michael to go through a 1 1/2 -hour practice and ask him to play 35 minutes."

Jordan scored a season-low 15 points in the 96-87 loss to Orlando. Matched one-on-one against Tracy McGrady, Jordan was 2-for-12 in the second half, missed all four shots he took in the fourth quarter and was taken out by Collins with 3:50 to play and the Wizards trailing by 13.

The rigors of an NBA schedule on Jordan's 38-year-old body seemed the biggest obstacle in his second comeback. He was slowed by back spasms and two cracked ribs as well as the knee tendinitis in workouts to get in shape over the summer. He has also been playing with a sore right wrist.

Nevertheless, when he announced his return, he said he planned to play all 82 regular season games.