By ANTONIO GONZALEZ
Associated Press Writer
ORLANDO, Fla. -- All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson could miss the rest of the season for the Orlando Magic because of a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
An MRI exam revealed the injury Tuesday, the team announced.
Nelson will decide over the next week whether he will have surgery or attempt rehabilitation. If surgery is the option, his season is likely over. If he passes on the surgery, he'll likely miss several weeks.
Nelson left the Magic's 105-95 loss to the Mavericks on Monday night in the third quarter after he was fouled by Dallas center Erick Dampier and hit the floor. Nelson came up bent over and clutching his right shoulder before heading to the locker room in pain.
The injury leaves the Southeast division-leading Magic (37-11) with a major hole.
Orlando does not have a third point guard behind backup Anthony Johnson. The Magic likely will have to sign another point guard, or convert shooting guards J.J. Reddick and Courtney Lee. Magic general manager Otis Smith scheduled a news conference for later Tuesday.
"It's a big blow for us," center Dwight Howard said after Monday night's loss. "I'm trying not to even think about it because he had been playing so well for us. It's a sad day for us all."
Nelson was having a career season, averaging 16.7 points and 5.4 assists per game. He was selected to his first All-Star Game and was to compete in the skills challenge Feb. 14 in Phoenix.
The Magic host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.
Nelson missed five games earlier this season with a right hip injury, and Orlando managed to go 4-1 behind Johnson.
A longer stretch against significantly better competition will provide a tougher test.
"We've done it before so we'll do whatever we have to do," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said.
If the Magic can take any comfort in the loss, it's that they have time to regroup before the playoffs.
Orlando has a stranglehold on the Southeast division, beginning Tuesday with a nine-game lead over Atlanta. The Magic were three games behind Boston for the NBA's best record.
Still, Orlando's hopes for locking up home-court advantage in the East took a major hit.
"We don't change expectations at all," Lee said. "We can't say that we're losing because Jameer is out. We all have to step it up so that there's no drop off."