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Monday, February 25
Jordan remains questionable with bum knee news services

WASHINGTON -- For 17 years, the only thing that kept Michael Jordan off the court for an extended period of time was his two retirements. Now a chronic knee injury has him thinking about a spell on the injured list, and it couldn't come at a worse time for his slumping Washington Wizards.


Jordan's knee was so sore he couldn't play the final 6:27 of a 92-80 loss Sunday night at Miami -- even when the outcome was still in doubt. After the game, Jordan seemed resigned to his fate and even talked about the possibility that the injury could force a "closure" to his career.

"My mind is still consistent," Jordan said. "But my body isn't."

Jordan and the Wizards had the day off Monday, with their next game Wednesday at home against Portland. Jordan remains questionable for that game. And possibly beyond.

The Wizards are scheduled to practice on Tuesday, and Jordan is expected to attend, though it's not known whether he'll work out.

Jordan said there was a "very strong possibility" that he'll go on the injury list, which means he would miss a minimum of five games.

"He looked like he was ailing a little bit," Miami coach Pat Riley said. "Everybody is going to have injuries. He's not indestructible. He probably needs a little rest. I think he has been absolutely remarkable in that he has played all season and missed only a few games."

Jordan has been bothered by tendinitis in his right knee since he began workouts in preparation for his second comeback. He has had fluid drained from the knee at least three times this season and banged it in a knee-to-knee collision with teammate Etan Thomas 2 weeks ago. The injury has caused him to miss two games -- Dec. 4 at San Antonio and last Wednesday at Detroit.

A combination of knee, wrist, back and rib ailments made durability the No. 1 question regarding Jordan's effectiveness when he announced his comeback, but he has always been remarkably injury-free. His only major injury came in 1985, when he broke his left foot and missed 64 games in his second season in the league. Since then, he has never missed more than four games in a season -- and he missed none his final three years in Chicago.

Jordan has tried to ignore the pain in his knee, and his competitiveness overrode coach Doug Collins' suggestion that he not play Sunday night. He scored just nine points, only the third time in his career he has failed to reach double digits.

"He said he just couldn't go anymore," Collins said. "I think this is more of an arthritic condition, and it happens more frequently now because of all the activity he's doing. Michael is out there trying to compete on one leg."

Added Jordan: "I need to take some time off and let it get better. I can't ignore what my body is telling me."

Jordan's condition leaves some sobering questions for the Wizards. He had planned to play two seasons before returning to the front office, but now he might be one and done.

And this one is starting to unravel. Jordan's most remarkable achievement was to turn the perennial losers into contenders over the first half of the season, but now the Wizards have lost five straight and are 1-7 since the All-Star break -- and the only win was by one point on a last-second basket by Jordan.

The Wizards (27-28) are below .500 for the first time since Jan. 22. Richard Hamilton, the team's second leading scorer, isn't 100 percent because of a mild aggravation of a groin injury. The toughest part of the schedule -- nine road games in 17 days in mid-March -- is yet to come.

"We started out 2-9," Collins said. "And the one thing that held us together was that we stayed resilient and stayed together and didn't fragment. That's what we have to continue to do."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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