D’Angelo Russell practiced on Monday for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Nov. 17. Because the Nets were scheduled to face the Raptors at Barclays Center, Russell was assigned to the Long Island Nets G League team for the workout and then recalled when it was over.
“It was great,” Russell said. “Just to get out there was a great feeling . . . It feels like forever ago. I’ve been out for a while, so getting out there with the G League team, they were amazing. They were going 100 miles an hour. It was great just getting that sweat again. It’s what I’ve been looking for.”
Russell was leading the Nets in scoring with a 20.9 average and also averaging 5.7 assists when he was injured Nov. 11 at Utah. He missed his 27th game Monday night but is hopeful of rejoining the lineup soon, though neither he nor coach Kenny Atkinson could offer a date.
“It’s really going with the performance team,” Russell said. “They would know better than I would know. Of course, I’m going to say I can go. But everybody has to be pushed, and the criteria has to be met before I get out there. We’re taking it day-by-day.”
Russell used his rehab time to continue learning the Nets’ system and his teammates, and he likes what he has seen lately. “I feel like we’re right in games,” Russell said. “It’s always coming down to the last two minutes for us. Everybody is playing at a high level, so that’s great.”
Atkinson says Carroll’s sprain ‘nothing big’
Starting small forward DeMarre Carroll (sprained right knee) missed the Raptors game with an injury suffered at the end of Sunday’s loss to the Celtics, but Atkinson eased fears about a long-term injury. “It’s just a little sprain,” Atkinson said. “Nothing big . . . It’s not something bad. He’s day-to-day.” According to an ESPN report, Carroll has drawn trade interest from Detroit and New Orleans.