Slowly but surely, Wizards center Nene is starting to find his game.
After missing the first 13 games because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot, Nene scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in 20 minutes of play in the Wizards' 77-70 win at New Orleans Tuesday night.
"We're still working him in," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "His legs aren't nearly where they need to be. Around the rim and stuff he's not Nene. But it's a process he has to keep staying with and build up with more minutes and practice."
The 6'-11" Nene has played in eight games for the Wizards this season, averaging 10 points and 5 rebounds a game, well below his career average of 12 and 7, but the team knows he will get his numbers up as his minutes grow.
"You start getting that stamina and getting your strength back in your legs, the explosion back in your legs that he doesn't have right, but he's still such a factor for us on the floor," Wittman said following the win over the Hornets.
The Wizards started the season with an 0-9 record without Nene, but since his return, the team is 3-5 in games in which he has played, so his presence is definitely being felt for the now 3-15 Wizards.
One of the issues facing Nene with his nagging foot is the difficulty of playing in back-to-back games, such as the Wizards have in facing the Rockets in Houston tonight.
"It's crazy, like the last back-to-back the first one I couldn't jump. Today I could jump a little bit," Nene said after the Hornets game. "I don't how it will be, but I just play hard and be positive."