Surprise! After Hollis-Jefferson talked in length about passing tests before playing again, the Nets announced that the rookie was probable for tomorrow’s game against the Charlotte Hornets.
Ha, update: Nets list Rondae Hollis-Jefferson as probable for tomorrow.
— devin kharpertian (@uuords) March 21, 2016
I guess he passed those tests then, huh? -Ben Nadeau
The full article prior to the news breaking, including quotes from Hollis-Jefferson and Brown, is posted below.
There’s still no clear finish line on the long, winding road back for Nets rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
It’s now been an even 50 games missed for Hollis-Jefferson, the energetic defense-first rookie that played his way into the starting lineup five games into his career.
Though Hollis-Jefferson returned to practice during the team’s circus road trip in mid-February, it’s been nearly 15 weeks since Hollis-Jefferson last played in an NBA game, after an initial estimate of 8-to-12 weeks following surgery in December to repair a fractured posterior talus in his right ankle.
At 19-50, the Nets are well out of the race to make the playoffs. Neither Hollis-Jefferson nor Brown ruled out the possibility that Hollis-Jefferson could get shut down for the season as the Nets prepare for next year.
“You never know, it could happen,” Hollis-Jefferson said. “If it does you’ve just got to mentally prepare for your next step, your next challenge, getting ready offseason, or whatever the case may be, you’ve just gotta be — you can’t be naive to anything. It might happen, it might not, but you’ve still got to be prepared for the worst.”
Brown added that it wasn’t his call whether or not Hollis-Jefferson would play again.
“It ain’t me (that makes that decision),” Brown said with a laugh. “I’m not the guy to ask. I would assume that it’s medical (staff) and organization-wise. So we’ll just have to wait until I get the OK. … I sure hope (he plays again). Based on what I’ve seen so far he’s put himself in that neighborhood to get on the floor. No setbacks, just keep doing what he’s doing I hope and pray that he plays some before the season is over.”
“For any basketball player who loves the game, is passionate about it, it’s frustrating,” Hollis-Jefferson said about the wait. “They can lie and say it’s not, (but) not being out there for anyone is tough. But you’ve got to understand it’s a process. A lot of players go through it, but you’ve got to understand to reach greatness you’ve got to go through a struggle sometimes, so, I don’t know, just got to wait to get back out there, wait to get the green light.”
“He’s getting better and better each day,” Nets interim head coach Tony Brown said following Monday’s practice. “He’s getting more time on the floor. Obviously on our off days he’s getting extra work in with our coaches. So he’s ramping it up a little bit more each day, but he’s doing fine.”
Before injuring his ankle during a December practice, Hollis-Jefferson had posted averages of 5.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in 19 games, with 14 consecutive starts, impressing the coaching staff and fans with his tenacious on-ball defense and surprising acumen for rebounding as a guard.
According to Hollis-Jefferson, the medical staff has to put him through “back to playing” tests to determine his next availability. “I don’t know what they are. I might have already did it, I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t. But whenever they say, ‘Hey, you passed them,’ I’ll be like–” Hollis-Jefferson then flashed a big smile and a thumbs-up. “Then I’ll be back playing, I guess.”