Willie Reed returns to Nets practice

Willie ReedNets center Willie Reed took his first step towards returning to the team’s active roster and making his NBA debut, participating in the non-contact portions of Nets practice Friday. It was Reed’s first involvement in practice since undergoing surgery in preseason.

The Nets signed Reed to a mostly guaranteed deal this offseason, expecting him to compete with Andrea Bargnani for minutes at center behind Brook Lopez. But the 6’10” backup suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb on October 15th, going under the knife the next day. He was expected to be out six to eight weeks, which puts a potential return date for Reed sometime in the next ten games.

Reed dominated the D-League for three seasons after leaving St. Louis University, averaging 15.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game in his D-League career, but has yet to play in an NBA game. Reed enlisted the help of fans throughout his tenure in the D-League on social media with the hashtag #CallWillieUp.