After sitting out training camp and the first two weeks of the season with a plantar fasciitis injury in his left foot, Wizards center Nene returned to the practice floor for the first time on Friday.
At the end of practice he sat at the side of the Verizon Center practice court with substantial ice packs on both knees – a sign that he was working and of how long it has been since he last participated.
“He got on the floor a little bit today and did some stuff, halfcourt stuff that we were doing,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “He took another step forward today.”
Wittman wouldn’t divulge much more.
“He looked good – he was on the floor,” he said.
It remains to be seen how long it will take for Nene to progress from the practice court to playing in a game, but his return was one of two positives – the other being the addition of point guard Shaun Livingston – to help brighten an otherwise somber atmosphere surrounding a 0-7 team that will match last year’s franchise worst 0-8 start with a loss against Utah on Saturday.
“It’d be huge,” point guard A.J. Price said of Nene’s potential return. “Just his presence out there today, for the few things that we had him in there with, you could see the difference.”