Early Return For Jameer Nelson?

by Paul Raymond | Posted on Monday, June 1st, 2009

Could Jameer Nelson really be making an early return to the Orlando Magic roster? It’s sure looking that way. As the Magic prepare for their NBA Finals match-up with the Los Angeles Lakers they’re putting the point guard through extensive tests.

It’s been reported that Nelson is a full two months ahead of schedule from mid-season shoulder surgery. Jameer underwent surgery for a torn labrum back on February 19th and for him to have full range of motion already is just amazing. He’s already been working out with his teammates and participating in contact drills.

Should the Magic decide to activate Nelson there are two major questions.

1) How effective can he be?
2) What effect will this have on his future?

No matter how much practice he’s had you can’t simulate game scenarios, so we know he’ll have some rust. That’s a given but the Magic wouldn’t be asking him to start, that’s Rafer Alston’s job. But having Jameer as his back-up is much better than Anthony Johnson. Even if Nelson struggles mightily shooting, his experience and leadership would really benefit this team.

jameer_nelson_action

Magic president Bob Vander Weide said, “the chance to get an all-star point guard on the floor for 15 minutes a game…you’d have to look at that.”

Can this move damage Nelson’s future thou? If he’s truly not ready physically then yea it can. And that’s why Vander Weide isn’t going to let Jameer play unless he’s completely ready. Nelson underwent another MRI and will undergo numerous tests with team doctors. If everything looks good he could get his chance to play in the NBA Finals.

If not? He’ll be on the bench watching his teammates go for the “gold”.

“It’s up in the air. We’ll see how Jameer looks the next few days,” General Manager Otis Smith said. “There’s a few more things we have to get comfortable with. We’re looking at the pros and cons. Doctors will have to talk to doctors. If we’re at a place where Jameer can help us accomplish our goals, then maybe he can play and give us some more punch … There’s a litany of tests he’ll have to pass. His health is the main thing. We’re not going to mortgage his future.”

I’m torn on what the Magic should do.

I don’t see the Lakers as being this huge favorite as most do. After what the Magic did to the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers you have to consider them a legitimate threat. If Nelson is healthy and capable, his play off the bench could be what puts Orlando over the top.

But at the same time, this kid is so talented you don’t want to risk his future. The pairing of Dwight Howard and Nelson has a chance of multiple appearances in the NBA Finals, especially in the watered down Eastern Conference. If there’s the slightest bit of doubt in managements mind keep him on the bench as this team should compete with the Celtics and Cavs again next year.

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