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Wednesday, June 20, 2001
Jordan workouts derailed for 6-8 weeks

Michael Jordan's possible return to the NBA suffered a setback when he broke two ribs this week in a pickup game, according to Washington Wizards coach Doug Collins.

Collins, whom Jordan hired as coach last month, told NBC and The Washington Post on Friday that Jordan, the team's part owner and president of basketball operations, was injured in a pickup game with NBA players at a gym in Chicago on Wednesday.

Jordan will need at least three weeks to heal and another three-to-five weeks before he could resume workouts, Collins said. Jordan will not give up on his bid to play again and the injury will only delay him making his decision, Collins added.

Jordan, 38, was injured while trying to post up a defender and when he tried to make a quick turn, the defender grabbed him, causing the ribs to crack. Collins said Jordan is sore, but also feeling better. He said there is no significant cartilage damage, which could have prolonged the prognosis and made the injury more painful.

According to Collins' projections, the earliest Jordan would be able to begin working out would be at the beginning of August, giving him 2½ months to get in shape before training camp begins in mid-October.

Collins recounted his conversation with Jordan during the broadcast of Game 5 between the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers.

"I asked him if he was discouraged and he said, 'I'm not discouraged, I'm just disappointed. I was playing so well -- starting to get my legs back and my timing (back), it's just going to delay my decision. When I heal up I'll get back to my training and see where I'm at,"' Collins said.

"But he still has a goal of trying to come back and play. This is just a setback for him; this is not the end. I believe in Michael, so I know somewhere down the road he's going to give it another great shot."

Jordan has been working out for more than three months, shedding nearly 30 pounds to get near his playing weight of 215 pounds. Collins said he spoke to Jordan on Thursday and Jordan was disappointed because "he was getting that feeling again."

Collins said he found out about Jordan's injury after Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night when he ran into Curtis Polk, an agent and partner of David Falk, Jordan's agent.

Jordan retired after the 1998 season after leading the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships in eight years.
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