Coach George Karl says he plans on putting in Nene sometime in the second quarter of tonight’s home game against the Mavericks, and is expecting quite a reaction from the Pepsi Center crowd:
“There will be a celebration and energy to it,” Karl said of the moment Nene enters the game. “I don’t think we’re putting any expectations on the basketball part. We want to see him run up and down the court and catch a ball and fall back in love with the game I know he loves and wants to be a part of.”
Nene, who underwent surgery on January 14 to remove a malignant testicular tumor, is also looking forward to getting back into action:
“It’s going to be crazy - the fans, the reaction, all the support for what I’ve been through,” Nene said. “I’m a little nervous, but that’s OK.”I want to prove myself because I’ve been through a lot of situations. That’s not going to stop me.“
Karl, who previously had a cancer scare himself, believes Nene will be a bit rusty, having been away from the game for so long. But he isn’t too worried about his returning player’s performance:
“It’s basketball. It’s not brain surgery.”
Anyway, good luck, Nene, and welcome back.