EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Nets hit the road for back-to-back games, Friday night in San Antonio and Saturday in Memphis, to begin a daunting stretch in which they will play 11 of their next 15 games away from home. They may, however, be getting some help in the form of point guard Jarrett Jack, who missed the season opener against the Bulls on Wednesday night with a strained left hamstring but seems ready to return to action.
Jack practiced fully Thursday and reported that everything felt fine. Barring any setbacks, he feels good enough to play Friday night against the Spurs.
"I expect my hamstring to hopefully be healthy, and if it is, based on doctor's orders, I would love to be out there playing alongside with my guys,'' Jack said.
Jack said he injured the hamstring in practice a week ago Thursday, in the last drill of the workout, when he felt a pull during the scrimmage. He had hoped sitting out practice over the weekend would be enough to heal it, but the Nets kept him out of the lineup for Wednesday night's 115-100 loss to the Bulls at Barclays Center.
Backup Shane Larkin started at point guard and played 23 minutes, scoring six points with eight assists and three steals. But he struggled while guarding Bulls point guard Derrick Rose (15 points).
Jack couldn't help but feel as if he would have been able to help if he could have played.
"I would like to think so,'' he said. "I'm not going to say with just me in uniform we would have won; I'm not going to say that. But I felt like I would have had a positive impact on the game.''
He described the hamstring injury as "a mild one'' and said he made it through practice without any pain, tightness or limitation.
"He ran, he stopped, he changed direction, he shot -- he did what he does,'' coach Lionel Hollins said of Jack. "And if he's healthy [Friday], he's going to probably play.''
Of course, the Nets are playing a back-to-back, with a plane flight in between. So the medical staff will have to decide if it believes Jack's hamstring is healthy enough for him to play both games. The conservative move might be to play him in one game and have him sit out the other.
Jack, who averaged 12.0 points and 4.7 assists in 80 games for the Nets last season, mostly as a backup to Deron Williams, inherited the starting point guard position during the summer when Williams was bought out.