As his teammates ran up and down the floor hitting pull-up jumpers on Thursday, Wizards big man Nene sat in a folding chair, his left foot resting on a bag of ice.
Since the start of training camp Nene has been sidelined by the same plantar fasciitis that forced him to miss 10 straight games for the Wizards last April. He returned to play the final five games of the regular season, all victories, but aggravated the injury while playing for Brazil in the Summer Olympics.
It’s now been more than 12 weeks since Nene’s injury and Wizards coach Randy Wittman says he’s still not sure when the 6-foot-11, 250-pound center will be back in the lineup.
“There have been no setbacks, everything is going positive,” Wittman said. “He’s doing more and more with his rehab.
“I know your next question is going to be how long? I have no idea. I’ve stopped asking. When they tap me on the shoulder and say that he can play, I’ll let you guys know.”
Already without star guard John Wall [stress injury to his right knee] until at least the end of November, the Wizards are hoping to get Kevin Seraphin [calf strain] back in the lineup in at least one of the upcoming games against the Boston Celtics Saturday and Wednesday.
“Injuries is the beast of this beautiful game,” Wizards guard Martell Webster said. “We had three [injuries] and now we have two. Getting Kevin back means a lot to us.”
Although he cannot play, Nene, 30, has traveled with the team and has supported his teammates from the bench and in the locker room before, during and after games.
“Nene has a wealth of knowledge,” Webster said. “He understands the game. He’s a great big [man]. A passing big, a scoring big and when you have all that wrapped up into one it makes him deadly.
“He has a deadly arsenal and we can’t wait to have him and John back. It’s just going to make this team that much better.”
The challenge, of course, is keeping the Wizards above water while waiting for the life raft. Following consecutive games against the Celtics the Wizards continue their November schedule with games against Milwaukee, Indiana, Charlotte, Dallas, Utah, Indiana, Atlanta, Charlotte, San Antonio, Portland and New York.
“There’s a lot of teams going through it,” Wittman said. “There are a lot of people sitting out with injuries -- [Amar’e] Stoudemire, [Dirk] Nowitzki, [Danny] Granger, [Derrick] Rose. We’ve got to figure ways out to get the job done and stay afloat during those times.”