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Magic plans return to Lakers if doctor gives his go-ahead


BARCELONA, Spain -- Magic Johnson, who retired when he VTC learned he was HIV-positive, has decided to return to the Los Angeles Lakers, pending medical approval, the Los Angeles Times has learned.

However, Lakers general manager Jerry West said yesterday that he has heard nothing from Johnson.

"I absolutely know nothing about it. No one has talked to us about it. I sure wish Magic would talk to us," West said. "It's important for him to talk to the press, but we would like for him to talk to us, too."

Asked if he would be talking with Johnson after he returns from Barcelona, West said: "Your guess is as good as mine."

Johnson will meet this week with Dr. David Ho, who will examine him to see if there are adverse effects from his Olympic participation.

Interviewed by NBC's Mike Fratello after Saturday's gold-medal game, Johnson told fans to "hold on."

In the interview room he said only: "I'm going to wait till I get back, get with my wife, sit down and talk about it. We'll make a right decision in my best interests."

However, a source says Johnson has made up his mind and will turn back only if tests show his condition has deteriorated.

Ho, contacted last night, said he had not been in touch with Johnson since he left for Europe. Ho said the plan was to examine Johnson, "but I haven't heard directly from him."

Asked if Johnson was physically able to return, Ho said it was premature to decide. "But ultimately, it is his decision," Ho said.

Johnson also will meet with NBA commissioner David Stern.

Stern confirmed the meeting but declined to say what would be discussed, pleading "commissioner-player confidence."

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