Nets unlikely to have Spencer Dinwiddie back for NBA playoffs

Steve Nash said it’s highly unlikely Spencer Dinwiddie will be able to return from the partially torn ACL in his right knee in time to play meaningful playoff minutes for the Nets. Unlikely, but not impossible.

Before the Nets’ 124-118 loss at Milwaukee on Tuesday, Nash was asked whether there was enough time for Dinwiddie to both finish his rehab, return to Brooklyn, ramp up enough to get into live game action and then be able to play a real role in a championship run. The coach didn’t sound bullish.

“I don’t think so,” Nash said. “We haven’t seen him since the turn of the year almost. It’s very difficult to, one, expose him to full NBA playoff basketball with the type of injury he has. We want to look out for his long-term health, first and foremost. And second of all adapting back to the team environment.

“That seems all those things together, it seems like it’s probably very unlikely. But who knows? Stranger things have happened.”

Yes, he’s saying there’s a chance — just not a good one.

Spencer Dinwiddie
Spencer Dinwiddie
NBAE via Getty Images

The veteran guard partially tore his right ACL in the third game of the season, a Dec. 27 loss at Charlotte. He has done his rehab largely away from the team, in Los Angeles, and has kept fans abreast of his progress on social media.

Dinwiddie, on Tuesday, posted a video working out at Phenom Sports Performance, writing: “I think it’s been 17 weeks. What’s the fastest anybody ever returned to Bball? Lol”

Dinwiddie has been expected to eventually join up with the Nets at some point, even if he doesn’t play. That’s likely when his odds of a return may be better evaluated. With six games left in the regular season, that wouldn’t afford him much time to ramp up before the postseason.

That of course doesn’t preclude the possibility of Dinwiddie working himself into full shape as the playoffs progress.

James Harden (right hamstring) and Nic Claxton worked out together during the Nets’ stay in Milwaukee, and Claxton returned to action Tuesday.

Claxton had missed eight consecutive games since last playing April 18 in Miami and going into health and safety protocol the next afternoon. He was scoreless with two rebounds in 5:02.

Bruce Brown, also getting reintegrated into the rotation, logged 11:46.

“[It] was an opportunity to reintroduce them, to get their feet wet so to speak,” Nash said. “We’re still trying to get them back to their full fitness. It was great to have them get out there, feel it, and be a part of it.”

Harden, who missed a 15th straight game, hasn’t played since April 5 versus the Knicks.

Mike James, who inked a second 10-day deal Monday, had 10 points in Tuesday’s loss.

“Talented player, good athlete, has speed and can get in the paint and cause problems. He’s a talented scorer as well,” Nash said. “But just trying to find a role for him that’s clear and simple and comfortable.”

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