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Tuesday, March 4, 2003
Updated: April 15, 12:40 PM ET
Jordan to be evaluated Wednesday

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Michael Jordan left the Washington Wizards' game against Toronto with back spasms Tuesday night and did not return.

Jordan left in the second quarter Tuesday after scoring four points in 15 minutes.

Jordan will be evaluated Wednesday, and coach Doug Collins said it will be a game-time decision to determine whether Jordan will play in that night's home game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Jordan hasn't missed a game this season.

Jordan appeared to hurt himself when he twisted his body just before making a pass near the free-throw line in the second quarter. He stumbled as he started to run downcourt and left the game during the next stoppage of play, with 4:34 left in the period.

Jordan put his hand on his lower back as he walked into the tunnel toward the locker room. He scored four points in 15 minutes.

The Wizards had their biggest lead, 40-33, when Jordan left the game, but the Raptors rallied to win 89-86.

Jordan left before the locker room was opened to reporters after the game, and he wasn't available for comment.

Ironically, this was supposed to be Jordan's 40th birthday game, which had been scheduled for Feb. 17. It was postponed because of a snowstorm.

"That's how fate works," Collins said. "We shouldn't even have been playing."

That means the Wizards are playing six games in nine days, but Jordan told his coach not to try to save him in what he has said will be his last season.

Collins said Jordan told him, "Don't treat me like there's going to be something left at the end."

"Michael wants to play every game as if it's his last, and that's the way we're going to do it," Collins said. "If we're in a game we've got a chance to win and I tell Michael, 'I'm going to sit you down four minutes to rest,' I'm going to be lasered."

Jordan is averaging 19.7 points. He has played with extra intensity over the last few weeks, trying to get to the playoffs one more time. Before Tuesday night's game, he was averaging 27.3 points and 43.8 minutes since turning 40.

Jordan missed 22 games last season with knee injuries, mostly from the wear and tear of working himself into shape for his second comeback from retirement.

Last week, Jordan was hit just above his surgically repaired right knee in a collision with Indiana's Reggie Miller.

Jordan began wearing a black compression stocking on his right leg to control swelling, but he didn't miss a start and scored 35 points in 50 minutes two nights later in an overtime victory over Houston.

Tuesday night's loss, combined with Milwaukee's 100-91 win at Miami, dropped the Wizards (29-31) a game behind the Bucks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.