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The Wizard Of The Hoops Returns

The "will he or won't he?" question has been answered.

Michael Jordan plans to play another season with the Washington Wizards, saying he's physically and mentally ready to return for the second year of his contract with the team.

"My love for the game of basketball continues to drive my decision," he said in a statement released Thursday by the Wizards. "Physically I am feeling very strong, and feel that the steps I took in the off-season have allowed me to return to the game in great condition."

Jordan, 39, averaged 22.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists for the Wizards last season, his first since retiring from the Chicago Bulls 3½ years earlier.

Jordan has averaged 31 points during his career, which includes 13 All-Star appearances and six championships with the Bulls.

Jordan missed 22 games with knee problems last season, but said during the off-season that he planned to fulfill his two-year contract with the Wizards if he felt physically able. This season will be his 15th in the NBA.

Wizards coach Doug Collins has said he plans to use Jordan off the bench for the first time in his career. But in his statement, Jordan said, "No decisions have been made as to my exact role on the team."

The Wizards were active in the off-season, acquiring Jerry Stackhouse in a trade with the Detroit Pistons and signing Larry Hughes, a free agent from the Golden State Warriors.

By Joseph White

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