WILMINGTON, N.C., Oct. 4 (AP) -- Michael Jordan hesitated slightly before speaking, gulping down a little extra air. He looked tired Thursday night after his third straight day of morning and evening practices, and he admitted as much.

"All of us went through a little tired period today, but we grinded ourselves through it. Normally the third day is where it takes its toll on you," Jordan said.

Michael Jordan
Jordan
Coach Doug Collins said he will give the team the morning off Friday before resuming practice Friday night. It'll be a welcome breather after three days of working hard and getting acclimated to having Jordan back on the court.

Despite his statement Monday in Washington that he would probably sit out one practice most days, Jordan has endured the two-a-days and said he plans to continue doing so.

Jordan might be trying to set an example for Washington's six rookies and two second-year players. Veterans on the team said Jordan has been nice to the rookies -- so far.

"He says as time goes on it's going to get tougher for them," teammate Popeye Jones said. "The last four or five years we've gone soft on the rookies in the NBA. I always had to carry the luggage and bring a newspaper to Derek Harper's room. We're going to bring that back."

The six rookies include overall No. 1 draft pick Kwame Brown, but the one who has made the best showing in camp thus far is Brendan Haywood.

"He's stepped forward and is probably our best center right now," Collins said -- a remark that can't be taken as a good sign for Jahidi White, who started 56 games for the Wizards last season.

The Wizards have been walking through plays and running drills in the mornings, then scrimmaging for most of the night practices. Jordan's team lost a scrimmage for a second straight day Thursday.

"Guys like Richard Hamilton and Courtney Alexander are learning so much from guarding him," Jones said. "I was thinking to myself: The guy is 38 years old and he's running circles around guys 25, 26 years old. It's just a joy to be on the floor with him and see the kind of competitive nature he has, even in practice."

The Wizards were paid a visit Thursday by former North Carolina coach Dean Smith. Three former Tar Heels, Jordan, Hubert Davis and Haywood, are on Washington's roster.

"Always good to see Coach," Jordan said. "He's going to give me some pointers about some of my weak points right now, but he's a good teacher and he always helps my game."

Jordan was asked why he said he is coming back for two years, rather than one. His answer shed little light on his two-year plan.

"No big reason. Obviously I wasn't going to say anything longer than that. At least give myself a good chance to get this team to where we want to go. So hopefully it will last out two years," Jordan said.