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kriD
03-08-2006, 08:41 AM
Nene won't give Nuggets boost

Recovery going well, but big man says he is out for the season

By Chris Tomasson, Rocky Mountain News
March 7, 2006

It's no-no from Nene.

No to the regular season. No to the playoffs.

Nene, a Denver Nuggets big man who suffered a torn right anterior cruciate ligament in the Nov. 1 opener, said Monday he does not plan to return this season, even if the team makes a deep playoff run.

"I'll wait for the next (season)," he said. "I (can't) do what I want to do because I prepare so good in the summer. Now, I miss four months, and I don't play. . . . I want to be productive. I don't think if I play (this season), I'll be like (that)."

Nene had surgery Nov. 21 and initial reports were he likely would miss the rest of the season. But Nene's recovery has gone well, creating some optimism.

Nene has been doing court work the past two weeks. He said the knee is getting better but there still is pain and he doesn't want to come back at less than 100 percent.

Nene recently fired his agent, Michael Coyne, and his business manager, Joe Santos, whom he has shared an apartment with, because he said they weren't providing the services he desired. His new agent is Dan Fegan, whom Nene has talked to about not coming back this season.

"He knows I'm not comfortable to play because I want to play good," Nene said. "I don't want to play so-so. . . . Now, I lost totally my focus. I like my focus all summer. My game has slowed."

Nene said he plans to return to practice before the regular season ends April 19. Nuggets general manager Kiki Vandeweghe hopes Nene also will keep open the possibility of playing again this season.

"He got a great (recent) MRI report," Vandeweghe said. "My suggestion is to see how it goes. That would be my advice. Not to rush back. But not to make any quick decisions and see how it goes. Because you can never tell what happens in a month."

Nuggets coach George Karl said playoff rosters could be expanded from 12 to 14 (with two players possibly inactive each game), which could make it easier for the Nuggets to put Nene on a roster even if he were unlikely to play.

NBA spokesman Tim Frank said the topic was discussed at the competition committee meeting during All-Star Weekend and is "still being discussed."

Vandeweghe, who was at the meeting, is not optimistic roster expansion will happen this year.

Nene said his plan to not return has nothing to do with becoming a restricted free agent July 1. Nene is in line for a big contract offer, and the Nuggets would have seven days to match.

(...)