Orlando is evaluating all-star point guard Jameer Nelson, the former St. Joseph's and Chester High star, for a possible return for the NBA Finals that begin Thursday night in Los Angeles.

Magic spokesman Joel Glass said yesterday that Nelson's rehabilitation from a right-shoulder injury is ahead of schedule.

Nelson has been out since February with what had been called a season-ending shoulder tear.

Magic president Bob Vander Weide told the Orlando Sentinel after Saturday's win over Cleveland that he wanted Nelson to have another MRI and consult with doctors for a possible comeback.

Nelson has been working out and has said he has full range of motion. But Magic general manager Otis Smith has said there is no way Nelson could return this season.

Magic's final hurdle

With Cleveland and LeBron James eliminated by Orlando, Orlando still must deal with with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.

"This team has fought really, really hard. Our reward is you get to go from preparing for LeBron to preparing for Kobe. I'm not doing that tonight," coach Stan Van Gundy said Saturday night after the Magic won the Eastern Conference title.

- Associated Press