Nets shaking off bumps and bruises

Joe Johnson of the Brooklyn Nets celebrates his Joe Johnson of the Brooklyn Nets celebrates his game-tying three point basket in the final seconds of the fourth quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks. (Feb. 19, 2013) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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If nothing else, these past few days off might have served as the perfect prescription.

With three-fifths of their starting lineup nursing assorted ailments -- no, Deron Williams isn't among them -- the Nets needed the time to get some of their main guys right.

Joe Johnson is trying to still shake off that sore left heel after apparently getting over a right quadriceps contusion that's helped sideline him the past four games. Gerald Wallace was sporting some bruises on his left foot last week. Brook Lopez rolled his left leg late in Friday's loss in Denver and played through it Saturday in Utah, despite interim coach P.J. Carlesimo initially thinking Lopez wasn't going to be able to go.

The good news: Johnson was firing off jumpers and cutting around the court all by himself not long before tipoff against the Jazz, and said after Saturday night's loss that he planned on playing Wednesday against the Cavaliers.

"We'd rather have him for the playoffs at 100 percent than have him close to the end of the season and not be 100 percent,' " Wallace said just before heading out of the locker room following Saturday's game. "So we are not rushing. We've just got to continue to play, and hopefully it gives MarShon [Brooks] and those guys an opportunity, as well as myself to get some confidence and momentum going into the playoffs.

"Hopefully, he gets back to 100 percent and we are all healthy and ready to go by the time the playoffs start."

Carlesimo summed up Johnson's importance this way: "We just were stretching some guys minutes and putting some guys in circumstances that hopefully, they will not be in going forward. A lot of things are different right now and it's hard to overcome that."

The last thing the Nets want is for health to suddenly become a continuous issue.

"We have a lot of guys banged up right now," Williams said. "G. Wallace has been playing through a lot of pain. We've got some warriors on this team that have been battling and Joe has been doing it all year."

That's why they're enjoying a welcomed breather prior to finishing this lengthy string of eight road contests, something Williams believes should be beneficial.

"I think so," he said, "getting the guys that are banged up time to rest and regroup, and focus and go out to Cleveland and try to get a win."

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