Jordan plans to play next season, but knee must get better

Friday, March 29, 2002

WASHINGTON -- For a change, Michael Jordan wasn't 99.9 percent sure of anything.

Jordan said Thursday he plans to play next season. He also said he probably won't play unless his injured knee improves.

"You guys are asking me to make a decision about next season now," Jordan said after the Washington Wizards practice. "Based on how I feel, that's not really fair. My intention, my contract lasts for next season. I have all intent of living out my contract.

"But, if I physically can't, if I go through the same situation I've been going through this year, it's not meaningful for me."

Jordan was taken aback by the tempest created by Wizards coach Doug Collins, who said on an ESPN program Wednesday that he'd be surprised if Jordan plays next season.

Jordan usually doesn't speak on non-game days, but he broke his routine to admonish reporters for "running with something" that's been obvious all along.

But, when asked if Collins was right, Jordan said: "That would be my observation, too."

"I would be surprised if I'm back playing next year if I'm going through the same situation that I'm going through right now," Jordan said. "Doug gave his opinion. ... I've been saying all season long that physically if I'm going though the same situation that I'm going through, surgery on my knee, I wouldn't play. It wouldn't be wise for me to play."

Jordan, 39, said he would play for two years when he came out of his second retirement in the fall, but his right knee has bothered him nearly all season.

Jordan had surgery on the knee Feb. 27.

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