Nene will watch the Wizards from bench in these last two regular season games.
Like coach Randy Wittman, the veteran power forward wants to see them play hard and finish strong, starting Monday at the Brooklyn Nets (CSN, 7:30 p.m. ET) and Wednesday at the Chicago Bulls (CSN, 8).
“You guys need to work hard,” Nene said of his message to backup center Kevin Seraphin and the host of others who’ll get more playing time. “It’s a business. Every year new guys come in.”
Nene first revealed that he was having more issues with his left foot in a 1-on-1 with CSN Washington after Friday’s 97-86 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. He only played 19 minutes.
Nene addressed the matter again Sunday with CSN and other media that he is too battered to continue playing with the Wizards (29-51) out of the playoff picture. They were officially eliminated April 3 after a loss to the Toronto Raptors.
The Wizards began the season with 12 consecutive losses as Nene sat with a ligament injury to his foot that he has never gotten over. Then it was a sore right knee that forced him to sit recently. Before that, Nene missed time with injuries to both shoulders.
“It’s a hard game. Work, work, work, need work. That’s not something I just say to say. I still played 11 years. Being an international player, playing 11 years, (it’s) because I work really hard,” said Nene, who averaged 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in 61 games played. “To have this kind of pride and this kind of hunger…. you need to fight. That’s the only thing you need to do.”
Wittman has to make a decision on his forwards. He has too many; Chris Singleton, Jan Vesely, Trevor Booker, Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster.
Webster (abdominal strain) and Ariza (sore left knee) are small forwards. They already have been shut down for the season.
“The way we start, if you ask for (an) opinion, they never going to say, ‘Oh the Wizards are going to get more than 20 wins,” Nene said of the 4-28 start. “We did really well. We lost a lot of close games. For next season, for sure we’re going to get better.
“Just go to the playoffs, that’s not goal. You want to go to the playoff (but) this season is a lot of games. You need to prepare well. … Playoffs are no joke.”