EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Mirza Teletovic has been cleared for basketball-related activities, a surprising development that could potentially see him contribute at some point in the Nets' playoff series against the Hawks.
Diagnosed with multiple blood clots in his lungs in January after experiencing shortness of breath in the Nets' loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles on Jan. 22, Teletovic has slowly worked his way back. General manager Billy King said in a statement that Teletovic will be listed as out for games and if that changes, the Nets will update it "at the appropriate time."
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Teletovic, who was jcleared by doctors Friday, had been closely monitored while on blood thinners. The Nets said his most recent blood work was normal, allowing him to participate in a full practice for the first time since the initial diagnosis. Considering the original preliminary timetable called for him to begin contact in July, it certainly provided an emotional boost for everyone involved.
"Dr. [Michael] Farber was following it for a while and I was looking good, looking good, looking good," Teletovic said. "And finally they cleared it."
Asked if he thinks he will be able to play in the eighth-seeded Nets' best-of-seven series against the top-seeded Hawks, which tips off Sunday Teletovic didn't seem so sure.
"I just had the first practice, so I'm trying to get back into it," he said. "They definitely are going to look at it and see and they are probably going to decide if I'll play or not to play. But for now, I'm just happy to be back."
So are his teammates, many of whom were stunned to see Teletovic scrimmaging with them. They knew Teletovic had been working out over the last few months, but there wasn't much of an indicator he potentially could lend a hand in the postseason.
"It was awesome," Deron Williams said. "It was kind of a surprise. The initial reports were he wasn't even going to be able to do basketball activities until, what June, July? So it's great to see him out there and he actually played pretty well. He didn't miss many shots, that's for sure."
Joe Johnson was one of the few who weren't caught off guard. He said Teletovic mentioned the possibility to him Wednesday and it came to fruition.
"I wasn't surprised because he told me after the Orlando game that it was a possibility that if we make the playoffs, he could come back," Johnson said. "It was great to see him out there. I know he definitely can help us."
Just don't expect him to be thrown into the mix until he's completely ready to go.
"I'm just going to work out," Teletovic said. "The doctors are there. They know what is best for me and the coaches are there, they knew what's best for them and for the team right now. So they are going to decide. It's not up to me."