Like when Al Harrington sat out and couldn't play because of right knee surgery, Nene is observing from a distance as he hobbles around on crutches while his left knee ligament strain heals. Harrington played the role of "assistant coach." So is Nene, though Marcin Gortat and Drew Gooden have done a solid job helping fill the void inside.
"He's here giving his opinion. I told him I want his opinion. Watch the game. Watch the guys," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "Give your input whether its halftime, after a game, after practice, as we did with Al. There for a while we had Al activated but he didn't play because of his ability to talk on the bench. We want some of those same things from Nene."
The Wizards have been doing quite well since Nene went down Feb. 23. The Wizards (33-29) won that game and have gone 5-1 since then going into Monday night's game at the Miami Heat (CSN+ 7:30 p.m. ET).
The formula for victory is easy to understand yet difficult to execute, and Nene likely would say something like this: Make Gortat a factor inside because the Heat don't have anyone who can match up with the 6-11 center one-on-one in the paint; limit the turnovers, namely by John Wall, to keep Miami out of transition; and keep LeBron James on the perimeter.