Nene hopes to play fewer minutes, even in Brazil

Nene hopes to play fewer minutes, even in Brazil
October 9, 2013, 11:00 am
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John Wall knows the Wizards have much to work on

Nene went home to Brazil on Wednesday, and his Wizards teammates joined him.

Nene, however, isn't going to do anything extra that could jeopardize his health for the regular season. In fact, he wants to play fewer minutes than the 22 he played in Tuesday's preseason opener. 

"No, no no no," Nene said quickly to CSN Washington, though with a smile, about playing more in front of his fans Saturday when the Wizards face the Chicago Bulls in Rio de Janeiro. "I don't worry about minutes even in Brazil because I'm a pro. I don't want to get sore, get hurt. I still have a couple of issues. Just because I feel better, they think I feel great but they're wrong.  We need to reduce (it) a couple minutes.

"My knee is still sore. My foot still hurts a little bit. Just trying to push (through)," said Nene, who didn't play basketball during the off-season and opted for rehabilitation. "The therapy is making me feel better."

The Wizards, coming off a 111-106 overtime loss, got a game-high 19 points on 8 of 11 shooting from Nene. 

The 7-footer was on the floor late in the fourth quarter, which was somewhat surprising given the result of the game was meaningless and his injury history. He missed the start of last season with a soft tissue injury under his left foot that never healed. He ended the season on the bench because of sore knees.

Wittman said to CSN before Nene returned to Verizon Center to prepare for training camp that he wasn't going to ease the big man back or limit his minutes. 

Nene could be seen often smiling after knocking down the mid-range jump shot. But it had nothing to do with his accuracy or joy of playing again. 

It was relief, and somewhat disbelief, of the bruising play by Nets big men Reggie Evans and Brook Lopez in an exhibition game. 

"They played physical with me. Jesus, man," said Nene, who started at center in place of Emeka Okafor (herniated disk). "That's the time I miss Emeka, but it's fine. You seen Lopes? It seems like Reggie been teaching Lopes to hold people on the block. It's hard to have energy  for him because he just does one thing (demonstrates a hold). Just plays physical. I'm not that kind of guy."