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Cage Returns To Nets

After a visit to his ailing father and flirting with retirement, Michael Cage returned to the New Jersey Nets Tuesday and said he was ready to play.

The 37-year-old Cage was signed to a one-year, $1 million deal before training camp. He has not been playing with the team, which had its opening practice on Oct. 5.

But the backup center was at practice Tuesday and said he was not yet ready to retire.

"I felt I needed to withdraw myself and talk with my family and decide if I was doing the right thing," Cage said.

"After thinking about it and getting the issue resolved with my father's illness, everything kind of seemed to come together. I was able to say `I will play. I want to play.' My wife and family are all comfortable with that."

Cage's father, James, had a heart attack about six weeks ago.

Cage, a 14-year veteran, last played in the NBA with the Nets in 1997-98, averaging 1.3 points and 3.9 rebounds as they reached the playoffs.

He was traded to Seattle on Jan. 21, in a deal that brought Jim McIlvaine to New Jersey, but was later waived. He did not play basketball for almost 18 months before being re-signed by the Nets.

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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