After sitting out training camp and preseason and the first nine regular season games, Nene could make his season debut Wednesday at Atlanta.
That's according to NBA writer and CSN Bay Area's Ric Bucher, who tweeted out on Tuesday afternoon, "Look for Nene to make season debut on Wednesday."
The team's practice session on Tuesday was not made available for the local media. Upon entering the Wizards practice court inside the Verizon Center, Nene, who returned to practice on Friday, was seen working on his low post moves one day after Washington lost to Indiana, fell to 0-9 and set a franchise record for longest losing streak to start a season.
Upon checking with the Wizards PR staff following Bucher's report, the team offered no update on Nene's status.
Meanwhile Comcast SportsNet's Chris Miller confirmed that Nene practiced for one hour today before the team took a flight to Atlanta. According to Miller, Nene will be a game time decision tomorrow.
Nene missed 10 straight games late last season with a plantar fasciitis injury in his left foot before playing the final five. The Brazilian big game reaggrevated the injury playing for his native country during the summer Olympics, forcing him to rehab and wait. That is until Friday's practice when he participated in a halfcourt drills.
Wizards coach Randy Wittman was asked Tuesday how the team would benefit whenever Nene and John Wall (knee) return to the lineup.
"It's going to help, no question, but again I don't want these guys sitting in the weeds waiting when are they coming back," Wittman said. "We're going to wait for them to get here and things are going to be fine. Things can be fine now; they've proven that in these nine games. We haven't played close to a group, team solid game and we've been in all of them."
Despite his presence being an obvious help last season after being acquired from Denver, Nene recenty downplayed his potential savior status.
"It’s not, me and John’s out, when we back we’re going to be the miracle. We’re going to be two more helps on the court," Nene said on Sunday. As for his rehab, Nene said at the time, "Step by step. Right now, my body is sore, my foot hurt a little bit. I try to be positive and try to control what I can do."
Asked directly about Wall's status following practice, Wittman offered no specific timetable on the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft's potential return. "Things are progressing. No setbacks," Wittman said. Wall has been out since late September with a stress injury in his left knee. The team initially projected Wall would miss eight weeks, meaning a late Novemeber/early December return. Wall will not play against the Hawks (5-4).
Forward Trevor Booker, who started Washington's first seven games in place of Nene, missed practice and underwent an MRI on Tuesday for a right knee strain suffered in the loss to Indiana.
Without Nene and Wall, the Wizards have struggled offensively, scoring the fewest points in the NBA. Without the team's primary low post threat and point guard, on-court roles have been altered, leading in part to inconsistency production throughout the roster, leading to Wittman's struggles with settling on a primary rotation.
"No, I’m not settled in. I’m trying to. I’m trying, but you know what, I don’t, and that’s the hard part," the coach said. "As a player, you want that. As a coach, you want that, but we’ve just been so inconsistent in the level of play that I can’t – I’ve been in this position before where I’ve figured out what nine I wanted to play and maybe which of those nine would start. I can’t figure out the nine, it’s so up and down. The 13th guy all of a sudden looks good, the second guy looks awful. It’s just that fluctuation in play that I’ve got to continue to try to find, that’s what I’m trying to do. Today we went through and I probably played four different linueps together, to see them, to see, ooh, maybe I like that, and we’ll continue."