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Jameer Nelson May Be Out for the Year After Tearing His Right Labrum: The Morning After

UPDATE 2: Let's just get this out of the way: Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith confirmed that Jameer Nelson will have surgery to repair his torn right labrum and will likely miss the rest of the season. UPDATE 3: the Orlando Sentinel has transcripts of Otis Smith's press conference (please read the whole thing) and a brief interview with Nelson.

Before Jameer Nelson suffered a dislocated right shoulder last night, the biggest question surrounding the Orlando Magic's season was, "Can this team win a championship?" It's a cruel irony that Kevin Pelton published this piece, in which he gives an affirmative answer to that question, the day after the injury occurred. Now, there are several questions we need to ask about the Magic: How severe is the injury to Nelson? How good are the Magic without him? With whom can they replace him? And who will replace him in the All-Star game?

UPDATE: I'll update this post with new links throughout the day. Post relevant trade proposals in erivera7's thread, please. Thanks. - BQR

  • How severe is the injury?

    • The Orlando Sentinel reports, via Twitter, that Nelson has a torn right labrum. He'll be evaluated again next week, but that doesn't sound good.

    • John Denton says the evaluation next week will determine whether Nelson will rehabilitate the shoulder and hope to come back later this season or if he'll have season-ending surgery.

    • Kyle Hightower gives us reason for optimism:

      A recent example of an NBA player returning quickly to action was New York's Eddy Curry, who missed just a week of action in October of 2007 when he was diagnosed with a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

    • ...and pessimism:

      Miami's Dwyane Wade dislocated his left shoulder in February of 2007 and missed 23 games before having surgery that May. He also was inactive for seven games the next season after aggravating it.

    • Johns Hopkins University has this page about labral tears on its Web site. Disconcerting quote alert:

      It is believed that it takes at least four to six weeks for the labrum to re-attach itself to the rim of the bone, and probably another four to six weeks to get strong.

We'll take a look at the rest of the above-posed questions after the jump.

  • How good are the Magic without him?

    • Matt Moore wittily summarizes the direness of Nelson's potentially missing a month or more:

      [While Nelson is out], the Magic may have to sign another point guard, as they're currently performing without a net, and Anthony Johnson ain't no acrobat.

      He got me to laugh out loud with that one, although it could be one case in which I laughed to keep myself from crying.

    • Johnson, for his part, thinks he can get it done. From Brian Schmitz:

      "I've probably started a third of the games since I've been in the NBA," Johnson said. "So it's not something I haven't ever done. I feel I can step in and play well and keep this train rolling."

      Johnson has played 729 NBA games, starting in 242 of them. That's 33.1%. If Johnson knows the Magic's offense as well as he does his career stats, Orlando might not be in such bad shape after all.

    • Ignore that last sentence; they're in bad shape, says Tom Ziller:

      To call Nelson's injury a disaster is an insult to the Hindenburg. Dwight Howard is the team MVP and the best center in the world. But if there's a No. 2 capo in terms of team import in Orlando, it is without question Nelson. Why? Because of Anthony Johnson.

      Johnson, Nelson's old veteran backup, has been somewhere between bad and awful for at least the past few years, possibly his entire career [....] Johnson does little well at this point (wide-open spot-up threes would be one), and several things poorly (defense, ball-handling, shot creation, scoring, defense, defense). He's a net negative no matter how you slice it.

  • With whom do they replace him?

  • Who will replace him in the All-Star Game?

    • Marcel Mutoni of SLAM Magazine ended his report of Nelson's injury with this quote:

      Suddenly, the door for an All-Star replacement appears to have been cracked open. I'm certain the debate will be handled with nothing but class and grace.

      Nice one.

    • The Knicks Blog thinks David Lee has a chance.

    • Ditto with Red's Army and Rajon Rondo

    • Ditto with WaitingForNextYear and Mo Williams.

    • Fear the Sword isn't so concerned with an All-Star berth for Mo Williams, but rather respect for the Cavaliers, who have lost starters Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Delonte West for stretches of this season:

      As a basketball fan I am saddened by [injuries to the Los Angeles Lakers' Andrew Bynum and the Magic's Nelson], but as a bitter Cavs fan I am waiting to see if the media treats those two teams like they treated the Cavaliers.

    • George Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal is, um, cavalier in his advocating Mo Williams replace Nelson on the All-Star team:

      Given Williams' impact and the Cavs' record, the NBA - that means David Stern in this case - has the chance to right an injustice.

      Speaking objectively, the real injustice would have been if Williams made the team instead of Nelson. It's moot now.