His return was somewhat unexpected and his contributions were greatly accepted, but after making his season debut Wednesday night,
But after the Wizards suffered a heartbreaking 101-100 overtime loss to the
His left knee wrapped in ice and his sore left
"It's hard right now," said Nene, who put on his No. 42 jersey for the first time this season and scored 12 points in a 20-minute run that offered optimism for how the Wizards will look when the team is finally at full strength with him and guard
Nene brought competence and competitiveness to the floor, but his comeback couldn't guarantee the Wizards' first win of the season.
After sitting out since the London Olympics with
"Sometimes, you need to sacrifice something to win or invest in your future," said Nene, who joined the team from Denver in a three-team trade deadline deal last March. "I know this team took me, like when I got traded, they embraced me hard. I told them, 'As soon as I get better and I'm able to play, I will help my team.' That's not to mean I'm cured or not injured. The injury is still there and I have heart. I have pride and I trust this team. So that's the reason I'm playing."
Nene informed reporters of his plans to play against Atlanta, but he forgot to give coach
"To get him back means a lot for our team," Wittman said. "His ability to play. His basketball IQ. He makes other people better. Gets to the free throw line. All of the little intangible things that we've been missing."
Wittman sent Nene to the scorer's table late in the first quarter with the Wizards down by eight. And after pointing to the sky, Nene was ready to get down to business, hitting an 18-foot jumper within six seconds. In a few brief spurts, the Wizards found out right away the difference that Nene makes as his presence helped them erase some large deficits.
"His foot is still injured, but he's sacrificing that for the good of the team. I don't think anybody else on the team would do that. That just shows heart and his passion and his will to win," rookie