Nene back at practice for Wizards on Monday
The return of Nene could alter how Drew Gooden is used in the rotation by the Wizards, but first the team has to see how the Brazilian bounces back from his first full-contact practice when they take the court Tuesday.
"We got drafted the same year. I already know what to expect with him," said Gooden, who shared the court for the first time with Nene, who went down Feb. 23 with a left knee ligament strain, on Monday. "He didn't surprise me in any ways. He's a physical force down there. He can pass extremely well for a big man. We need it. We need him."
Gooden, a 6-10 forward-center, was signed to the first of two 10-day contracts three days after Nene's injury. Since those have expired, Gooden has been retained for the rest of the season. He has had a major impact off the bench. Just how he's going to fit in coach Randy Wittman's rotation now going into Wednesday's game vs. the Charlotte Bobcats at Verizon Center remains to be seen.
"Whatever Witt is going to go with (is OK). We're in this to win ballgames," said Gooden, averaging 9.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. "There's no individual goals at this time of the year."
Gooden hasn't been as effective in the last three games, totaling only 10 points on 5-for-14 shooting. Saturday, the Wizards (40-37) had their doors blown off by the Chicago Bulls who led by as many as 28 points before winning 96-78.
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"We just totally got dominated. I said to myself that was by far the worst butt whipping we had since I've been here," said Gooden. "Witt said he thinks its the worst of the season. That's good news coming in here (Monday) I saw how hard we went at practice. This team is not going out without a fight. ... I think we're going to respond well Wednesday."