Note: This is the latest installment in a ten-part series on the top storylines facing the Wizards this season. Check CSNwashington.com daily for additional entries.
Yet to practice this pre-season because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot, Wizards center Nene plans on being ready for the season opener October 30 at Cleveland.
I hope to. Well be positive. Well work to be on that time," Nene recently said about the timetable for his return.
Wizards coach Randy Wittman would like to have Nene back but, after training camp concluded on Tuesday, Wittman offered little insight into Nene's situation.
All I do is each morning, I come in, I ask the trainer who I got, who I dont have. And thats all I can worry about right now, Wittman said. I write down who I got and we formulate a practice plan and we come out here. Thats my update.
The Wizards need the big man to be healthy because point guard John Wall has already been ruled out for the first month of the season with a sore knee. While Wall is the team's best back court player, Nene is the team's best front court player so they need him to produce with Wall out.
Nene averaged 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in 11 games for the Wizards last season in which the team went 7-4. The 6'-11" Nene is clearly a difference maker when he is in the lineup -- that's why they surely need him to be 100 percent. The Wizards have a lot invested in Nene as he still has four years and 52-million remaining on his contract.
The 30-year-old Nene has made it clear that he's going to be sure his foot is right before he comes back. Nene missed ten games last season with the same injury and had to sit out a game this past summer at the London Olympics where he played for his native country Brazil.
Ive been working hard, doing physical therapy, taking care of myself," Nene said. "I understand because as a veteran, when you feel good, thats one of the goals. You need to feel good, you need to be good, and you need to be smart," Nene said.