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Jameer Nelson closer to playing for Magic

June 2, 2009 |  4:28 pm

Word out of Orlando's practice today is that injured All Star point guard Jameer Nelson is looking prettyJameer Nelson vs. Lakers good.  Reports Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel:

Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson looks to be closer to playing in the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers as observers said he was flying down the floor, running with the second team in Tuesday's practice.

Teammates are convinced that Nelson is making a return after missing four months of the season...

..."I'm pretty sure he's going to be given the benefit of the doubt. I expect him to be out there sometime during the series," said Anthony Johnson, the veteran back-up point guard to starter Rafer Alston. "You got to play the guys who give you the best chance to win."

Johnson, of course, would be the guy most likely to lose PT to Nelson, not that he sounds bothered by the idea.  Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said he'd make a decision after tomorrow's practice in LA.  Publicly, the team remains pessimistic, but like Johnson, the rest of Nelson's teammates think he'll play, and Nelson himself is certainly lobbying for the chance. 

At the very least, the reports should end any speculation that the Nelson talk is simply gamesmanship to screw with LA's preparation.  How effective he'd be after four months on the sidelines is an open question, but even a rusty Nelson is a more dynamic weapon than Johnson, and would change Orlando's attack.  I think everyone knows, too, how Nelson shredded LA's defense this year.  (If you don't: 27.5 ppg, 6.5 apg, 58.3% from the floor.) 

My guess is that he'll end up on the floor in one form or another.  How long, which game?  I have no idea.  It certainly adds a wrinkle to things, though.

BK



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