GM Ujiri Defends Nene’s Recovery Time
Nene has been unable to play in 13 of 36 games. He leads the team in rebounding average and notes from the doctor. All his absences have been excused. But the next game Nene sits out will mean he has missed more than 20 percent of this condensed NBA season.
It would be unfair to question Nene’s heart. As the Nuggets dig in for a tough fight over a playoff berth, however, it would be unwise to rely on Nene to lend a hand. His averages of 13.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game when healthy this season are not significantly better than the 10.3 points and 7.7 rebounds provided by (Kenneth) Faried in eight games since Feb. 14.
Faried has earned more playing time. There’s more combativeness in the Nuggets when he’s wrestling in the paint. Force Nene to come off the bench and maybe it might finally dawn on him that intensity can’t be a sometime thing.
Rather than celebrate his loyalty to the Denver market, (Denver general manager Masai) Ujiri has been put in the awkward position of defending Nene’s toughness, citing a similar calf injury suffered by Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani, crippling a forward was playing with all-star flair for the Raptors.
“I think Nene is working hard to get back,” Ujiri said. “I think people are looking at this the wrong way. It’s a tough injury.”