As the Nets gradually get Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert back into the fold from respective injuries, one former Brooklyn player spoke out to defend the team's handling of the recovery processes.
Jared Dudley spent just one season -- the 2018-19 campaign -- with the Nets, but saw enough to know how players with injuries are taken care of.
Now with the Los Angeles Lakers, Dudley spoke out Sunday on Twitter when one fan account appeared to be critical of how the Nets' have approached Irving's and LeVert's injuries.
No sir, best performance team I've had in my 13 year career.. They are on the safe side when it comes to rehab but I can personally vouch for them. From there weekly assessments with your body too testing in the weight room to help strengthen your weaknesses https://t.co/Yjvrf209Ql- Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) January 5, 2020
Dudley, 34, has played for seven different teams into his 13th NBA season. He was a teammate of LeVert's last year, serving in a leadership role for a young team that exceeded expectations at 42-40 and made the playoffs as the sixth seed. Around the Nets and the culture that head coach Kenny Atkinson and general manager Sean Marks have built, Dudley has praised the organization before.
"It was the most thorough training staff I've ever been a part of," Dudley told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated over the summer.
The Nets (16-18) have been decimated by injuries to start the 2019-20 season. Kevin Durant and David Nwaba are both out with right Achilles tears. Nwaba, who suffered the injury in Dec. 19's 118-105 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, is out for the season while the same has been assumed for Durant.
Irving (right shoulder impingement) and LeVert (right thumb) have not been on the court together since early November. Irving remains out indefinitely, addressing his injury for the first time since it occurred and saying he has been taking cortisone shots with surgery a possibility. LeVert, meanwhile, returned from surgery that sidelined him for 23 games.
LeVert returned for Saturday's 121-102 loss to the Toronto Raptors, but was ruled out for Monday's 7:30 p.m. road game against the Orlando Magic. He was on a minutes restriction against the Raptors (24-12), dropping 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting while logging 16 minutes off the bench. His path back, however, includes load management -- the Nets just cleared him for contact in practice Dec. 26.
"I felt pretty good out there," LeVert said. "Obviously we wanted to get a win, but just me personally, I felt pretty good."
The Nets have dropped five straight games, starting with Dec. 26's 94-82 loss to the New York Knicks, and look to get back on track against the Magic (16-20) as LeVert eases in and Irving's future remains uncertain.
"This will test us, test our character," Atkinson said. "I told the guys in the locker room, 'This happens during the NBA, and we'll get it back. We'll get it back down the road.' ... I have enough confidence in the team."