Even if healthy, Nene's minutes could be limited

Even if healthy, Nene's minutes could be limited
April 24, 2013, 1:30 pm
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Nene is spending time in Brazil but ultimately will rehabilitate his body and rest in Colorado, where he spent the first nine-and-a-half years of his career with the Denver Nuggets.

When he rejoins the Wizards after an injury-plagued 2012-13 season, he may be eased him back into action.

“That’s something that we’ll talk about,” Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld said when asked if the team would consider being cautious given Nene's fragile state of late. “We did monitor his minutes early in the season this year and even later in the season.  He never played the high, high minutes. He never played over 40 minutes. It's something we'll talk about with our medical staff.”

Nene didn't want to play the last two games of the regular season and sat out. His left foot, which had caused him to miss the first nine games because of a ligament problem, flared up. His right knee was sore, too, and it had forced him to sit out before that.

On top of that, Nene had injuries to both shoulders that resulted in missed time. In all, he sat 21 games.

He averaged 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds and shot 48% from the field in 27.2 minutes per game. It was the first time in his 11 seasons that he shot less than 50%.  It was his lowest rebound total in a full season as a starter since 2003-04 and least points averaged since 2006-07.

Nene never played more than 37 minutes in 61 games. With health being such a focus for the Wizards going into 2013-14, it would make sense to monitor Nene's minutes even if he appears 100% at the start.  It could mean losing a couple games that the Wizards otherwise could win, but that’s where the burden falls on Grunfeld to find a credible backup.

Right now, the Wizards have a cluster of power forwards -- Trevor Booker, Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely -- who they can’t run their offense through. If the light doesn't suddenly come on, they’ll have to find a solution through free agency or the draft.