Jordan makes an early return

Not expected to play until Sunday, Wizard plays in easy win

March 21, 2002|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

DENVER - Four days before what had been considered a likely comeback game, Michael Jordan returned to the Washington Wizards last night against the Denver Nuggets, coming off the bench in Washington's 107-75 rout.

The Wizards activated Jordan, who had missed 12 games with a cartilage tear in his right knee, after he participated in the morning shoot-around.

"He said this morning if he felt good at the shoot-around, he'd like to be activated and maybe play a few minutes." said Washington coach Doug Collins.

Jordan returned to the team Tuesday for his first practice since he went on the injured list Feb. 26. He was not expected to play before Sunday's game at Toronto.

"[Tuesday] was the first time he had been on it. I think he was waiting to see if it was going to swell." said Collins. "It was the first time he had really run around hard on it, so he was waiting to make sure when he woke up this morning that he was feeling good. I think he thought he could move forward."

Jordan made his initial appearance with 2:55 remaining in the first quarter, drawing a standing ovation from the Pepsi Center crowd. He missed his first two shots, but made an 18-foot jumper from the left baseline. He also hit a turnaround and was fouled with 23.7 seconds to go in the period, playing four minutes in that stretch.

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