Washington Wizards center Nene’s right shoulder was so sore during Monday night’s 90-84 triumph over the Toronto Raptors that he barely was able to raise his arm over his head in the visitors’ locker room shortly after contributing significantly in the fourth quarter of a third consecutive win.
So it came as no surprise that Nene was limited Tuesday afternoon in practice at Verizon Center, with the Wizards preparing to try to avoid a four-game season sweep by the Detroit Pistons. Washington plays its nemesis Wednesday night at Verizon Center.
“Sore, he’s sore today, so he didn’t do a whole lot,” Wizards Coach Randy Wittman said of Nene. “We didn’t do a whole lot anyway, just going over some things we needed to clean up. A lot of shooting [for the team], but he didn’t, I mean he was down there [on the practice court], but we actually didn’t do any contact anyway.”
Nene had exited to the locker room by the time reporters were allowed to watch the end of practice, but Wittman indicated he thought his third-leading scorer would be available against the Pistons.
Monday night, Nene missed his first six shots and spent a good chunk of the second half on the bench with right shoulder wrapped in ice. When he did re-enter, Nene scored nine points in a row, and his three-point play provided a 79-67 lead with five and a half minutes left in regulation.
Starting point guard John Wall also was not around for the portion of practice open to reporters. Against the Raptors, Wall played 24 minutes, his fewest in more than three weeks, and missed 8 of 11 shots but did have seven assists and only one turnover.
Over the last five games, Wall is shooting 30 percent, but Wittman said the shooting funk did not impact his reduced playing time Monday. A.J. Price, meantime, played 30 seconds less than Wall and had 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting with three assists and four turnovers.
“I’m not on a ‘this guy gets 35 minutes not matter what,’ ” Wittman said. “You go out and you perform, and you’re doing the things that you’re supposed to do for this team and it’s being successful, hey, I’m going to ride you.”