Last season, Nene took the summer off to deal with a soft tissue injury in his feet. This summer, even after the Wizards extended their season a month by advancing to the second round of the playoffs, Nene will dedicate himself to Brazil's national team.
"I need to forget about basketball for a little bit. In my case, I have things to do with the national team in the summer. I need to turn off right now," Nene said. "I have a responsibility. I have lot of children who look for me so I (must) do the right thing."
Health has long been a concern for the Brazilian who was bothered by plantar fasciitis and a sore heel early in the season. He also was lost for 21 games because a strain in a left knee ligament Feb. 23. In playing in just 53 games this season, Nene was on a minutes restriction when he came back from both injuries but the Wizards didn't have to rely on him as much to carry the heavy load.
The Wizards still reached the No. 5 seed and won 44 games as Nene returned to the starting lineup for a first-round series with the Chicago Bulls in which he dominated Joakim Noah, the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year. He wasn't as sharp in the second-round series loss to the Indiana Pacers, but it was his best season since arriving in Washington via trade two seasons ago.