Re: Is Nene back?
The weight is gone. The smile is back.
For more than a year, there was a cloud hanging over Nene's once- sunny disposition. He tore his right anterior cruciate ligament in the opener last season and it was a long road back.
Even though he took the floor for this opener this season, the Nuggets big man wasn't the same player. Not able to condition the way he normally does, Nene was overweight and out of shape.
But who has that been this month throwing down dunks and smiling all the way up the court? None other than Nene.
"That's the guy I remember when we got traded together here in Denver five years ago," said center Marcus Camby, the only Nuggets player to have played each season with Nene since he arrived in 2002. "I always said it's going to take some time for him to get adjusted, especially coming off the ACL injury. He's just starting to come along, and at the right time."
Medical people had cautioned before the season that it would be about January before Nene - he was injured Nov. 1, 2005, had surgery and missed the remainder of last season - would start resembling his old self.
Nene was solid in January, and he has erupted in February. In six games this month, he's shooting 57.5 percent and has averaged 18.2 points and 8.2 rebounds to raise his seasonal marks to 10.2 and 6.0.