Jordan to miss another game

Joseph White and Joseph White

WASHINGTON – More than eight years and two retirements later, Michael Jordan is finally going to miss another NBA game because of an injury.

Jordan had fluid drained from his right knee Monday and will miss the Washington Wizards’ game at San Antonio today, the start of a four-game road trip.

An MRI revealed no serious damage to the knee, so Jordan might return for Thursday’s game at Houston.

“My body is sending me messages, and I need to listen,” Jordan said. “I hope to be ready to play on Thursday.”

Jordan hyperextended his knee during a preseason game, and this was the second time he has had fluid drained from it. He has been bothered by soreness and swelling in the knee – on top of the tendinitis he has felt in both knees since he resumed workouts earlier this year.

At 38, Jordan has barely been able to practice for more than a week. When he does, he can’t make it through the entire session.

Jordan is averaging 24.8 points and 38 minutes per game and is shooting just 40 percent, well below his career average. He also leads the league in shots taken and shots missed.

“We’re pleased with the results of Michael’s examination,” Wizards general manager Wes Unseld said. “Michael will rest the knee for a few days and continue his treatment so that he can return as soon as possible.”

Unseld said that “Michael wants to play every minute of every game,” but that coach Doug Collins “will manage Michael’s minutes in an effort to minimize the soreness in the knee.”

Jordan last missed an NBA game because of injury on March 5, 1993, also against San Antonio. It was the second of two games he missed while hospitalized with a foot infection.

The wear and tear of an NBA schedule on Jordan’s body seemed the biggest obstacle in his second comeback. He was slowed by back spasms and two cracked ribs as well as the knee tendinitis in workouts to get in shape over the summer. He has also been playing with a sore right wrist.

Nevertheless, when he announced his return, he said he planned to play all 82 regular season games.

Instead, he made it through the first 16 before having to take this break. On the court, he has been obviously slower than his old self and no longer commands regular double-teams. His jump shots have often been flat and short – usually the result of tired or injured legs.

Going into the season, he had hoped to play about 32 minutes per game, but the lack of support from his teammates has forced Collins to use him more. The Wizards are 5-11.