EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The preseason games are all done and the NBA regular season doesn't start until Wednesday for the Nets. Coach Lionel Hollins and his squad are in a holding pattern, continuing to practice every day and staving off the boredom until it's time for the season to begin.
All this dead time, though, gives some of the injured Nets an opportunity to get healthier. That could help Hollins, general manager Billy King and the rest of the Nets' brain trust make the decisions on how the roster should look for opening night.
The strained hamstring that is bothering center Andrea Bargnani will have an effect on which fringe players make the team, Hollins said.
"Of course. It will impact on decisions that we make when we finally close down the roster," Hollins said of Bargnani's status. "But we got a few days to see, and it puts us in a position of having to delay a decision or change any decision that may not have been made if he were healthy completely."
The Nets have 17 players, two over the maximum 15 they're allowed to keep. Bargnani's hamstring injury could force them to alter their plans about how many frontcourt players they keep. Willie Reed, a 6-10 forward-center with a partially guaranteed contract, had seemed likely to make the team as a backup to Brook Lopez, but he suffered a torn thumb ligament and had surgery last Friday. He's expected to be out another five to seven weeks.
That means if Bargnani -- a former No. 1 pick overall with a long injury history -- isn't ready to go, the Nets might not have a legitimate backup center. Justin Harper, 26, a 6-10, 225-pounder, still is on the roster, and he averaged 9.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in the preseason.
Reed, slowed at the start of the preseason by a strained quadriceps muscle, played only a half of one preseason game. He hopes he did enough in summer workouts and practices to convince the Nets to keep him.
"I don't know what's going to happen," Reed said. "That's why I'm praying every day. I'm just trying to do my part. Right now, all I can do is to go out here and support my teammates and do everything I can and just hope that what I've done here in the past has showed them enough for them to keep me."