Jordan Plays in Win Over Clippers
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A day of rest, massages and electrolysis did the trick: Michael Jordan was back Wednesday night.
Jordan started, played 24 minutes and scored 10 points in the Washington Wizards’ 99-80 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, another Jordan-like speedy recovery from back spasms that sidelined him 24 hours earlier.
Moving gingerly and grimacing at times, Jordan went 4-of-14 and had nine rebounds. He sat for good with 3:05 remaining in the third quarter and the Wizards leading 68-49.
Jordan’s status wasn’t confirmed until the lineups were released a few minutes before tipoff.
``I know his body doesn’t feel good,″ coach Doug Collins said about an hour before the game. ``If he does play, I think his feeling is he needs to be out there for us to win.″
Jordan’s back flared up in the second quarter of Tuesday night’s loss to the Toronto Raptors. He left the game, and the Wizards blew their lead and lost 89-86.
Jordan did not attend Wednesday morning’s shootaround, and trainer Steve Stricker went to Jordan’s hotel in the afternoon and applied electrical stimulation to try to break up the spasms.
About 75 minutes before the game, Jordan went to the Wizards’ closed practice court to shoot baskets with an assistant coach to determine whether he could play.
Jordan hasn’t missed a game this season, and the Wizards can’t afford to lose him now. The loss to the Raptors put them one game behind Milwaukee for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Jordan is averaging 19.4 points and 35.9 minutes in what he says will be his final season, but he has regularly been playing 40-plus minutes since turning 40 last month.