Even the rare dose of bad news nowadays for the Nets includes traces of positivity.
Although valuable reserve striker Jeff Green will be sidelined for game 3 in Milwaukee on Thursday night, as the Nets seem to lead 3-0 in the series, his return looks close, perhaps even inevitable.
“I hope he comes back, if not Game 4, Game 5,” coach Steve Nash said over Zoom on Wednesday after training. “But he’s definitely on the right track and I think it’s entirely possible for him to play sooner rather than later.”
The 6-foot-green, who came out with a plantar fascia load on his left leg, said he felt better and hoped to return to Game 4 as long as he continued the progress he had made. He works and works on cutting and changing direction. He dealt with the problem even before the playoffs, but made it worse in the Celtics̵
This is not a minor injury, of course. Green described it as a severely sprained ankle at the bottom of your foot. He still feels discomfort when walking.
“The whole planting and the explosion is something that just comes with it,” said Green, 34, who is about to return to practice. “It was really hard to be me [with the injury] early when I did it for the first time. But I played through it throughout the year. … So, now I can go back there and obviously run, but cutting is something that hasn’t come back yet. “
The fact that James Harden (hamstring) has disappeared has not changed Green’s urgency to return. Neither the Nets’ command start to the series diminishes his need to return and how well they have defended two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in his absence. Green – who averaged 11.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and shot 41.2% of depth in the regular season – is doing his best to get back on the court.
“As James always says, he is always proud to be available to his teammates, and I am the same. And it’s painful to be outside, “Green said. “That’s why you see me from the side [standing] in every play you try to be a voice from the side, but it is difficult not to be physically outside. This is difficult. And I’ve been trying to find ways to use that energy that I always have to be on the sidelines, to call out plays, to call out what they’re trying to do or what I’m seeing, but it’s definitely hard. “
It may soon become easier for him – and for the Networks. Green sounded as if the pain of watching was worse than the pain in his left leg.