After undergoing back spasms he called the “worst of his career” last season, it didn’t take long in training camp before Andrei Kirilenko’s back acted up again.
Kirilenko sat out of the team’s second practice with lower back tightness, and expects to be out for 7-10 days. Kirilenko says he feels no pain in the back. “I don’t want to say it’s the right time, but it’s better now than in the middle of the season when you start missing games,” Kirilenko said.
The Nets play their first preseason game on October 7th, against Maccabi Tel Aviv at Barclays Center. Kirilenko was non-committal, but likely won’t risk a back injury for a preseason matchup. “I don’t really know what’s gonna happen the next 5-6 days,” Kirilenko said. “This is a very important time to maintain it.”
The 6’9″ forward missed 37 games last season, mostly due to back spasms. He practiced the first day, playing five-on-five drills with the starting unit. He doesn’t attribute his latest injury to training camp, since the workouts have been light and he’s worked out all summer to improve his cardio and conditioning. One Nets source said that Kirilenko came into camp in “much better shape” than last season, when he took the entire summer off from basketball activities for the first time since becoming a professional.
Coach Lionel Hollins was unconcerned. “It’s part of the game,” Hollins said. “You just have to deal with it.”