Nelson is back

All-star point guard Jameer Nelson returned to the Orlando Magic's lineup last night in a 104-99 victory over Utah.

The former St. Joseph's star played nearly 14 minutes as a reserve, scoring two points.

Nelson had not played since he had surgery Nov. 18 to repair torn cartilage in his left knee. He practiced for the first time in about a month Sunday. He was averaging 13.7 points and 5.5 assists before he was hurt.

He also bounced back from surgery last season.

Nelson injured his right shoulder in February and had it repaired. In a surprise move, he returned early and was able to play in the NBA Finals, but he struggled as Orlando lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games.

Nowitzki hurting

Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki is questionable for tonight's home game against Portland because of a deep laceration on his right elbow.

Nowitzki was hurt in Friday's overtime loss to Houston in a gruesome collision that knocked out five of Carl Landry's teeth. The Dallas star required several stitches.

Even without Nowitzki, the Mavs beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, 102-95, on Sunday night.

Nowitzki is known as a quick healer. According to, he has not missed more than six games in any season since his rookie year in 1998-99.

- Inquirer wire services