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Nene's foot injury puts early games in doubt


Nene's foot injury puts early games in doubt

The 2012-13 Washington Wizards have two prominent players in John Wall and Nene. They are the kind of talents worthy of receiving odds, long as they may be, for the NBA's Most Valuable Player award as they were this week.

Neither has been healthy enough for a training camp practice nor seen a second of preseason action. Wall, the speed of sound running point guard figures to miss at least the first month of the season with a right knee stress injury, the kind of ailment that includes a bit of wait and see approach.

Yet at least there is some definition to his timetable. As for Nene, he of the plantar fasciitis issue with his left foot, not so much, no matter whom you ask.

First up following the Wizards' Friday practice, Wizards coach Randy Wittman. Any update on your high-priced starting center?

"I don’t," Wittman said before the team set off for Saturday's game at Milwaukee. Nene, Wall and Kevin Seraphin (calf) will all remain behind.

"[The trainers] are going to tell me when it’s time to get [Nene] on the floor. That’s when I see him down on the floor, to be honest with you. He’s amping up, doing more and more what he can do in terms of with the training staff."

This week Nene visited a foot specialist in Baltimore, receiving electric stimulation therapy.

"He went to Baltimore and they liked what they saw and the progress he’s been making. And that’s all I can really go on in terms of that," Wittman said, providing no authoritative answer on this particular topic less than two weeks before the regular season tips off.

Next, we, as in the media, turned to the 30-year Brazilian big man himself, looking for anything in the ballpark of a definitive response about his return. Forget playing in any of the three remaining preseason games; how about the Oct. 30 regular season opener in Cleveland?

"I’m not going to say," Nene said. "That’s the reason I don’t say. I don’t know. I want to, but sometimes it does not go the way you want. I just want to make sure I’m healthy to help my team because if I sit down again, that’s not good."

No, that would not be good.

"I’m getting there, man. I believe I’m making progress," Nene said. "I was a little behind than I thought. It’s still enflamed. I just want to take care of it the right way. But all the exercises, I’ve been doing fine. I’ve been listening. I’ve been obedient. That’s what I can say to you.

"Now, time, I just want to make sure I’m 100 percent because I don’t want this kind of injury again on a season."

Acquired last season from Denver, Nene missed 14 of 25 games including a stretch of 10 straight with foot issues. The gregarious center with the high quality low post game also helped change the team's vibe, approach on and off court. Washington won eight of its final 10 games last season. Even while sidelined during the preseason, Nene has been a vocal presence during practices and sitting on the bench.

Considering being in game shape is another matter altogether, could we see Nene against the Cavaliers if he were to miss the entire preseason?

"That’s up to him," Wittman said. "I can’t tell a player when to play and when not to. It depends on which practice situation obviously. He’s got to get on the floor and do things at full speed before I would put him out there. I can’t tell a player when he’s ready. That’s up to the player."

For now, we're left to wonder how long until Nene can help this year's squad win games while actually being on the court. All guesses welcomed.

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Blazers' C.J. McCollum has a theory on DeMarcus Cousins signing with the Wizards to reunite with John Wall

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Blazers' C.J. McCollum has a theory on DeMarcus Cousins signing with the Wizards to reunite with John Wall

Blazers guard C.J. McCollum has a theory that may sound familiar to Wizards fans. The star shooting guard now hosts a podcast and said on his most recent episode that he could see DeMarcus Cousins teaming up with John Wall in Washington.

McCollum's Blazers happened to lose in the first round to Cousins' Pelicans, though Cousins did not play in the series due to injury. Now, McCollum has offered thoughts on his future.

Here is what McCollum said about Cousins potentially going to Washington on his Pull Up podcast, as transcribed by SLAM Magazine:

"No slight against the homie. I think he’s a very, very good player. But you just have to look at the team roster and try to figure out what’s best for that roster moving forward...

“I think team success, playoff success, factors in to decision-making with personnel moving forward. Obviously, Jrue Holiday, Rondo, AD will have input on what they decide to do going forward. So that’s something to keep an eye out on in the free agency.

“And if that is the case, Boogie would jump out in to the market as a free agent and be a very hot commodity, and could potentially team up with the Washington Wizards.

“You heard it here first. You heard that here first. You know that Kentucky connection, man. I could see that happening. That’s just something to think about going forward.”

The funny part of those quotes is that McCollum said "you heard it here first." Wizards fans, of course, have been banging that drum since, oh, 2010 when the two were drafted.

As it has often been throughout the last eight years, a reunion of Wall and Cousins is unlikely. Yes, Cousins is expected to hit free agency, but the Wizards currently do not have the money to sign him. They are in the luxury tax and would have to move some big contracts to make room.

Cousins is also coming off a torn Achilles injury. That creates major questions about his future and how much money teams will offer him. 

If healthy, Cousins would fit nicely with the Wizards who will need to get younger at the center position at some point. It just doesn't seem like a good bet given all the factors in play. 

You can listen to McCollum's full podcast here.

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Otto Porter's status in doubt for Game 6 against Raptors

Otto Porter's status in doubt for Game 6 against Raptors

There appears to be at least some chance the Wizards will be without starting small forward Otto Porter when they host the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of their first round playoff series on Friday night in Washington.

Porter, 24, continues to deal with a right lower leg strain. The injury is located on the outside of his calf and will require further testing from the Wizards' medical staff to determine his status.

Head coach Scott Brooks addressed the media on Thursday and did not rule out an MRI.

"We don't know as of yet, but he's banged up. So, hopefully we will find out some good news and see how he feels tomorrow," Brooks said.

Porter first suffered the injury on April 10 against the Celtics in the Wizards' penultimate regular season game. He missed the regular season finale, but has appeared in all five games of the Wizards-Raptors series.

Brooks did not make it seem likely that Porter will miss Game 6, but expressed uncertainty.

"Anything is possible," he said. "We hope for the best."

Porter appeared hobbled in Game 5 and has at other times this series as well. After the first two games of the series, Brooks was asked about Porter's health and said that he was "100 percent." It's unclear if Porter suffered a setback in the time between, but clearly that isn't the case anymore.

Porter is averaging just 10.0 points in this series, down from his 14.7 per game season average. Ideally, the Wizards would be getting more than that from their third scoring option.

"We need Otto," Brooks said. "We need Otto to be more of a nine or 10-point scorer for us to win this series."

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