Jefferson starts days after suffering bone bruise

Updated: May 17, 2006, 3:31 PM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- New Jersey Nets forward Richard Jefferson started Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, two nights after suffering a bone bruise on his right heel and ankle.

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Jefferson -- who had 20 points in 23 minutes for New Jersey in its 100-88 win in Game 1 -- was listed as doubtful and did not practice on Tuesday. But he went through a light workout about two hours before Game 2 and pronounced himself ready to play.

"I might not be the crash test dummy that I normally am, but I'll still be out there playing pretty hard," Jefferson said. "Players always want to play. Players always want to win."

Jefferson was in a walking boot on Tuesday and did not practice.

After his on-court drill about two hours before Wednesday's tipoff, he did some more exercises with members of the Nets' medical team, who later huddled with coach Lawrence Frank and other members of the coaching staff to make a decision on his availability.

"Richard is an amazingly quick healer," said Frank, who indicated that he wasn't sure what Jefferson's status would be 90 minutes before gametime. "Just to give you a little background, his rookie year he strained a ligament in his knee. For some, it would be probably three to five weeks. He was back in four days. He's an unbelievable healer."

The Nets were 0-4 without Jefferson this season. And his inclusion in the starting lineup didn't catch Miami off-guard; Heat coach Pat Riley said on both Tuesday and Wednesday that his team prepared for Game 2 as though Jefferson would be playing.

"Obviously, the player is always going to want to play," Frank said.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press