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Report: Nene may play Wednesday in Atlanta


Report: Nene may play Wednesday in Atlanta

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."

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Wizards likely to sign free agent Okaro White to fill 14th roster spot, per source

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Wizards likely to sign free agent Okaro White to fill 14th roster spot, per source

The Wizards are set to sign free agent power forward Okaro White to fill their 14th roster spot, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Washington needs to add a 14th player to reach the league roster minimum after they waived guard Chasson Randle on Nov. 11. Technically, they have until Nov. 25, per league rules which allow teams to carry 13 players for 14 days.

White, 26, has played two NBA seasons, both with the Miami Heat. He was undrafted out of Florida State University and has also spent time with the Cavs, Hawks and Spurs despite not appearing in regular season games with them.

White has played 41 total NBA games. He has career averages of 2.9 points and 2.3 rebounds.

Though White will get an NBA roster spot, he could see time with the team's G-League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go. At the NBA level, he gives the Wizards another big man, which could come in handy depending on how long Dwight Howard is affected by his piriformis muscle injury.


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Marcin Gortat's emotional return ends with a loss and personal vindication

Marcin Gortat's emotional return ends with a loss and personal vindication

CAPITAL ONE ARENA -- The “Polish Machine” who now plays for the Los Angeles Clippers didn’t quite land the Hollywood movie script ending in his return to Washington.

Don’t fret for Marcin Gortat. Sure, the Wizards, his former team, fought back from a 24-point deficit for a 125-118 win. He’s good with his new scene. Gortat also has thoughts on his former situation and the turmoil brewing.

Gortat made his first appearance in the arena he called home for five seasons Tuesday night since a June 26 trade sent him to Los Angeles for Austin Rivers. He wasn’t sure of how the local fans would react. His journey in Washington ended bumpily, but the overall ride coincided with a positive turn for the franchise. The Wizards reached the playoffs in four of his five seasons.

“Well, obviously a very emotional moment,” Gortat said of his return. “Bottom line is that we came here to get a win. Unfortunately, we lost today. …It was great to be here.”

His arrival in 2013 following a trade with Phoenix led to the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 2008. Three more postseason trips followed as did Mohawks and fabulous quotes. Gortat provided the power just before the NBA veered away from hulking frontcourts. His fame and fortune increased in Washington. His affable and oversized personality attracted fans.

Fans that watched the 6-foot-11 screen-setting center consistently provide double-doubles graciously applauded for the ex-Wizard during pre-game introductions. Gortat, who started 400 of 402 games played in Washington, appreciated the gesture.

“It was weird to sit on that side of the court and play against your guys,” Gortat said. “It was tough, very emotional and weird, but it’s business.”

Gortat wasn’t immune to criticism from fans and teammates during his time in Washington. Some of those dings were justifiable. He complained about his lack of offensive touches received in latter seasons. His candor or choice of words played a part in certain flare-ups, including a tweet last season about a "team" win during a stretch with John Wall sidelined that started. That former controversy appears quaint by this week's standards.

Part of the reason he now plays for the Clippers is that the relationship with his former pick-and-roll partner soured. When disapproval only went so far up the Wizards’ player hierarchy, it often stopped with the man in the middle.

The Wizards entered Tuesday’s game flailing. Many of the same players from prior seasons remained. Not Gortat, meaning any blame must land elsewhere. With drama engulfing the Wizards, Gortat proudly felt vindicated. He waited for the pack of reporters to clear before expressing such thoughts.

“Listen, the way I was traded out of that team, it looked like I was the cancer of the locker room,” Gortat told NBC Sports Washington. “I think that thing was verified and it was complete [expletive]. It is what it is now.”

Pregame Gortat wondered if the Wizards would join the ranks of teams creating tribute videos for returning players. He would be left wanting.

Rivers, the son of the Clippers head coach, received one in October upon his first arrival back with the team he played for over four seasons. Gortat remembered.

As the formal postgame scrum ended, the ex-Wizard made it clear he had thoughts to share and asked to be asked about the lack of a video tribute.

“Well, what do I think about that? A lot of guys around the league are getting tributes. It ’s obviously up to the organization, but I guess Austin Rivers did enough to get his tribute, but I didn’t do enough to get a tribute here,” Gortat said to NBC Sports Washington. “A few guys around the team understand. It was kind of weird.”

Taking the court with his former teammates was more different than weird, but ultimately cordial and competitive.

“Brad (Beal) fouled me a few times. He admitted he fouled me, but I didn’t get a call,” a chuckling Gortat told NBC Sports Washington. “John, yeah, we had our ups and downs, but at the end of the day, there’s no bad blood. We spoke at the end of the game, said good luck, stay healthy.”

Ultimately, Gortat made peace with his time in Washington. The fond memories outweighed the knocks. Members of the Wizards organization stopped by the Clippers locker room for a chat and a laugh. Gortat bear hugged Wizards equipment manager Jerry Walter to the ground.

The loss stung. Los Angeles does the stinging most nights. The Clippers entered with a five-game winning streak. Their 11-6 record puts them among the Western Conference elite. Gortat’s minutes are down (18 per game). Such limits would have bothered him in Washington. 

At 34 and knowing his NBA life could be fleeting with his contract expiring this summer, Gortat is cool with his new world.

“I’m great. I’m great where I am,” the 12-year veteran said. “I get to play and help the team as much as I can either on the court, off the court, in the locker room. I’m going to try to help my team and lead us as much as I can. We have great chemistry and a great team.”