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Tues, Oct 23, 2001

Jordan Says New Injury Won’t
Sideline Him For Opener vs. Knicks

by Butch Rogaine

WASHINGTON, DC – Michael Jordan suffered yet another physical setback this week in his attempt to return to the NBA. On Monday afternoon, the new Washington Wizard dislocated his jaw while taunting rookie Kwame Brown at a team practice.

     “Me and Michael was playing one on one,” explained Brown, a recent high school graduate. “He brought the ball down from half court and ran straight at me and toward the hoop, where he faked a righty lay up before switching hands in mid air and laying it in with his left. Man, it was awesome!”

     Video taken by an amateur cameraman show that Jordan had his tongue stuck out during the aerial maneuver. He then proceeded to run around the court for about five minutes with the tongue hanging out of his mouth. Most of the Wizards at practice saw it as a good natured prolonged taunt of the young rookie.

Above: Jordan's tongue will remain retired for the time being.

     However, team trainers became concerned when they saw that Jordan could not speak, get his tongue back into his mouth or close his jaw. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors got his jaw back in joint, wired it shut, and then gave him a large foam “I’m #1" hand with which to do his taunting until the injury heals.

     For a few hours, many feared that the jaw might put Jordan’s comeback against the N.Y. Knicks at MSG in doubt. A few months earlier, a similar scare arose when he cracked a rib in practice. However, via a letter to the press, Jordan explained that he could play with the wired jaw. Commissioner David Stern later called a press conference, where he went  so far as to outline a series of precautions that the NBA will take at arenas visited by Washington.

The following is a partial list of those accommodations:

1. During game breaks, men with mops will immediately go to wet spots on the floor, where any of Jordan’s drool might accumulate. Stern commented that this was no new practice: “we started doing it when players like Ewing and Mullen entered the league.”

2. Ahmad Rashad will follow MJ into the men’s room and wipe Jordan’s derriere. “There’s nothing wrong with Michael’s hands, but we thought it only appropriate that he receive this extra courtesy,” explained Stern. “Ahmad’s got a good sense of the territory, and Michael trusts him.”

3. Jordan’s former college coach, Dean Smith, will be a referee at every Wizards game. “Michael’s got a boo boo. We want him to feel at home wherever he goes.”

4. Steve Kerr will be present at each game, so “Michael can rub his head for good luck.”

5. The Wizards will not be allowed to play the L.A. Lakers. “This was Michael’s idea.”

Senior Staff Writer Butch Rogaine has donated 20 cases of Ensure Plus to to aid MJ's dietary needs during his recovery period.

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