Nene has missed time recently because of his sore right knee, but the left foot that kept him out the first nine games of the season is flaring up, too.
“It’s a struggle of a season,” he told CSN Washington after playing only 19 minutes, getting nine points and 10 rebounds, in Friday’s 97-86 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Wizards (29-51) have two games left in the season and have been out of the playoffs since April 3.
“The priority is to take care of my foot,” said Nene, who has had issues with ligaments and tendons underneath the foot before being traded to Washington in 2012. “In three months, four months, we’ll see. I suffered to play this season. I’m still suffering. I need to heal myself. My foot is still hurting. My knee is sore and still weak.”
Coach Randy Wittman has held back Nene to get more minutes for his other forwards, Trevor Booker, Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely. Booker has played through a bruised tailbone. Trevor Ariza (left knee soreness) and Martell Webster (abdominal strain) are out.
In April, Nene is averaging 9.6 points and 5.2 rebounds and shooting just 48 percent from the field. He’s only playing 24 minutes per game.
“It’s hard, when you’re trying to get three guys at the same position, time. So I've limited Nene's minutes to get them minutes too in the thick of games,” Wittman said. “Everybody’s nicked up at this time of year. Banged up, knee hurts, back hurts, Book’s ass hurts.”
That’s fine with Nene. He’s OK with not playing in the final two games.
“I’m done. Let the young players get more time, learn how to play basketball. That’s what you do when you don’t get into the playoffs,” he said. “Let the young players play to feel the game because right now they have no clue.
“There’s a lot of things to do. … I don’t want to suffer. I don’t want to go through this experience again. The priority is recover, improve my body, my foot, my knee come back strong and do the things I need to do to help this team. My last couple years I don’t have (enough) time to work on myself.”