Jameer Nelson returns

The Orlando Magic aren’t really themselves anymore with Hedo Turkoglu gone and Vince Carter in his place. There are other changes too, of course, like rugged forward Brandon Bass coming on board.

But despite reaching the NBA Finals last season, the Magic weren’t truly themselves because point guard Jameer Nelson was injured.

Although the team will be different this season, fans should get to see the old Nelson again.

Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel reports:

Is Jameer Nelson back to being his old self?

“I feel good — normal now,” he said. “I worked harder this summer than I did any summer ever because I had to. I wanted to get back to the level I was at. I didn’t want to become just one of the guys.”

Nelson concedes that the little guy running around in the NBA Finals against the L.A. Lakers, making a surprise return just four months after major shoulder surgery, was an imposter.

“I was nowhere near 100 percent,” he said after a recent workout at RDV Sportsplex. “I’m not sure of where I was at. Because of who I am, I was really confident out there. I didn’t play with any lack of confidence. It was just me knowing the reality of the situation, knowing I couldn’t do certain things.

“I had to tone things down a little bit.”

The Magic will be interesting to watch in 2009-10. Even with Nelson playing like his old self, I can’t help but wonder if they’ll take a step backwards this season.