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Zo talks comeback and Wade being NBA MVP

After Alonzo Mourning showing up at Heat fan Sarah Wiseman's 102nd birthday party as a surprise Wednesday, the Heat center addressed a range of subjects from how his rehab is going as he tries to Alonzo_wade2_2 return from a serious knee injury to Dwyane Wade's Olympics performance and whether he identifies with Brett Favre.

I've pasted Mourning's full answers below, but for those of you interested in the quick hits here they are:

*He hopes to return by December, but left open the possibility it could end up being February. Bottom line: Mourning said if he can't get himself back in the shape he wants that Dec. 19, 2007 game against the Atlanta Hawks--when he suffered a torn patellar tendon in his right knee--was his last.

*He told Wade he expects the star to be a MVP candidate this season.

*He believes Pat Riley is not done re-shaping the Heat's roster this offseason.

Q: How is your rehab going?

A: It's coming along well. I'm trying to work my butt off to try to get myself healthy. It's not going as fast as I want it to, but the doctor said I'm ahead of schedule so i have to keep doing my part. Hopefully I can be out there sooner or later.

Q: Before you had tentatively talked about aiming for a December return. What's your timetable now?

A: I'm hoping for December, but no later than maybe February. I'm hoping for December barring (I) don't have any setbacks.

Q: Wade has looked impressive in the Olympics. What is your take?

A: D-Wade and I had a long conversation (before he left). He understands the responsibility that he has as a (Heat) team leader, as a franchise player and I think he has accepted that responsibility and he did that by taking a different approach this summer and taking care of his body. You can see that he's coming back stronger than ever. He has his explosiveness back. He's only 26, so he's got a lot of good basketball in him. I think his maturation process (has progressed) towards him educating himself and understanding what he has to do to take care of his body to endure the rigors of the season, and accept responsibility on both ends of the court. You can definitely see that.

I see him as a MVP candidate this year and I told him that a goal of his should be to on first team all-defense and there is no reason he shouldn't be there.

Q: The Heat has not added a center this offseason, so do you get the sense that they're expecting you to come back and contribute in some capacity?

A: I think Pat Riley is not done. I think he's going to continue to make the right decisions to build the team to a level that we can possibly contend at some point. At this particular stage I'm not going to look at this as a rush to get back healthy again.  I've got to take my time and based on my conversations I've had with Pat Riley, he told me, "Take your time. I want you to be 100 percent if you're able to come back and play again." I'm going to do that.

Q: You seem to have a similar passion for basketball that Brett Favre has for football. Can you relate to what Brett Favre went through and how will you know when it's time for you to walk away?

A: I think Brett can still play this game at a very high level. My body will let me know when it's time to stop. So many people feel that once you reach a certain age, then it's time for you to retire from a sport you love. I don't think it's true at all. I think age should not dictate that. I think you can play a particular sport as long as you take care of your body and have that hunger where you want to be part of an organization and contribute to the success of a team. You can't let other people dictate your future. If I would have listened to other people back in 2000 telling me I should stop playing basketball because of kidney disease, I wouldn't have won a world championship.

I listen to myself. I listen to my body, my mind, I follow my heart. I know time is going to dictate my future. Come December or January, if I'm not able to play the game at the level I expected to, then it's time for me to step away.

Q: Can you elaborate on where you are in your rehab?
A: I'm at a stage where I have to strengthen my quad muscle, because it was immobilized so long I lost a lot of strength. I have to strengthen those muscles to serve as a shock absorber to the tendons that were torn. Right now I'm going through that strengthening phase, but at the same time you have to monitor that level of activity because you don't want to overdo it and set yourself back.


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nice post i think wade is capable of winning mvp ohh and 1st

Thanks for the exclusive. Good to hear Zo passing the torch of leadership accountability to Wade. Also nice of Zo to kick trade nuts in the, well, nuts, by reaffirming his Heat-or-nothing approach to any possible return.

But please. No more comparisons to The Diva.

Zo had to overcome legitimate, formerly life-threatening, now career-ending health issues that complicated previous on-off retirements. Zo doesn't operate in a hovering, quivering, pink cloud of meffluvia.

Unlike Favre, the Has-Been Who Won't Go Away. Chad has more of the right stuff (character) than Favre ever did though Pennington will never match The Diva for on or off field drama.

Doug Williams won a Super Bowl too. Right. Doug WHO?

Good to hear something from Zo. I think he'll return around the new year and it sounds like Zo's having an impact on D-Wade as far as work ethic and challenging him to be a better leader on and off the court. I hope he gets in Beasley ear more than anything, that's the main reason I really want Zo back this season to work with Beasley and mentor him and we could use his shot blocking and presence in the paint. I think all-n-all Beez will be get it together remember he's only 19. Good luck with the rehab Zo, God speed recovery. Look forward to seeing you on the court in '09 if not sooner.

If Alonzo Mourning was Jewish, I'd call him a mensch. In fact, he's a mensch even if he isn't one of The Tribe. What a contrast from the overpaid, pampered stars of the NBA -- or at least most of them, who have more money than they'll ever need and still want more and more. While it would be good to see him back on the court, the most important thing is that he regains his health. After all he's been through, with the kidney stuff and the injury, he deserves no less. A role model for all professional athletes -- indeed, for sports fans as well.

A question of blog mechanics....

Can you guys sign your name under your posts as this is a shared blog? I assume this was posted by Sarah Rothschild because the article about the same was her byline but it is not always so easy to tell who is writing these posts.

Sofoklis Schortsanitis "baby shaq" from greece is a very good fit to Miami Center. He can have a big low post presence like Shaq. He is only 23 years old now. I do hope Pat Riley can get him since we have a very big room for cap salary since J-Will and Ricky Davis are not with us now. He is a very good addition to the Heat. Hope Pat Riley can read this

"Baby Shaq" is like 150 lbs overweight. He was off the Greek team for a year or so for being out of condition. Even now, the coach had to pull him repeatedly to give him breathers. Also, he doesn't play any defense - he is like Eddy Curry. This heat team has enough offense between Wade, Beasley and Marion. What they need from the 5 spot is defense, shot-blocking ability and being able to RUN THE FLOOR for easy put backs and transition D. Baby Shaq is not what the Heat wants or needs.

I agree with Dan, "Baby Shaq" looks more like "fat bastard" from the Austin Powers films. I watched the Us/Greece game the other day and saw him "running" the floor. It looked like Eddy Curry ate Oliver Miller. What about Magloire or Ratliff though? We need somebody. Is Riley sitting on his hands right now or brokering a trade for a PG/C?

here's another trade haslem,blount,banks for ai. marion,lasame,alexsandder for butler harrington. marion goes to golden state, jackson and two heat players go to washington.

Gordon from the bulls look like he will not be playing next year in bulls uniform. Lets try to get him for the heat at point guard. You guys think that would be a good fit??

Hes a shooting guard, can't run an offense.

I read this column everyday and thought Marcus Banks had been traded since his name was never mentioned. Don't think he is going to turn over the responsibility of running the offense over to a untried rookie. He is a winner. He played behind Steve Nash in Phoenix and seldom got a chance to display his talent. He is the missing ingredient you need. Give him a chance and you will be rewarded. Joe Carta

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