Michael Jordan, who has missed most of the season with a broken foot, plans to return to action with the Chicago Bulls on Friday against the Indiana Pacers. ProServ, the Washington-based firm that represents him, would prefer that he sit out the rest of the season.
"There's no question that we would like for him to sit out the remainder of the season," said David Falk, Jordan's representative at ProServ.
"We've gone back and forth with him about it, and we've been harping with the Bulls' management, too, but Michael won't listen. He's such a competitor that if he thinks he's ready to play, then he's going to play."
Jordan, last season's rookie of the year, has missed all but the first three games this season because of a broken navicular bone in his left foot. Two times since his injury, his return has been postponed because of insufficient healing of the bone.
Jordan's cast has been removed, and he has been in regular shoes and doing light exercising for the last two weeks.
Jordan said he thinks that he's ready and that his advisors, though well-meaning, are looking at too many financial statements.
"For them, it's a business decision," said Jordan, who makes more from endorsements than from his Chicago salary. "For me, the choice is mental. If I had to sit out the rest of the year, I would go crazy.
"Plus, I would like to test it (the foot). Suppose I sit out the rest of this year. Then when I go into training camp next season, it'll be close to a year without playing. And what happens if I do hurt it then? That would mean missing two years, and mentally, I couldn't take that. I say let's just try it now and see what's going to happen. If I reinjure it, then we'll be able to deal with that."
The choice may not be his to make. Jordan left Dallas shortly after Sunday's all-star game to meet with an Oregon foot specialist. Then he will go to Cleveland to meet with another doctor. He will play only if those physicians and the team doctor agree he's ready.