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Jeremy Lin’s return to practice court a healthy sign for Nets

Nets guard Jeremy Lin looks on against the

Nets guard Jeremy Lin looks on against the Philadelphia 76ers in the second half of preseason game at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

BOSTON — There was a fresh, new face outfitted in Nets practice gear on the TD Garden court during shootaround Wednesday morning before the season finale against the Celtics. It was point guard Jeremy Lin, who last was seen publicly in a Nets uniform when he ruptured his right patella tendon in the season opener at Indiana.

Lin has spoken to the Nets media contingent once since then on Feb. 3 and is scheduled to speak again Thursday at the club’s training complex when players clean out their lockers. But the mere sight of a fit-looking Lin stepping off the court in workout gear after spending months at a rehab facility near Vancouver, Canada, had to be heartening for his teammates.

Coach Kenny Atkinson said Lin didn’t do much during the shootaround but worked out with the coaching staff Tuesday at the practice facility. “I think he’s moving great,” Atkinson said. “I was pleasantly surprised watching him. Where we are, we have to be super-cautious. We don’t want to rush this in April and May. But I was kind of blown away at how well he was moving and the stuff he did. There’s no contact to it.”

Asked to clarify if Lin is cleared for basketball activity short of contact, Atkinson said, “Oh yes, completely. Backpedal, sidestep, run, shooting, all the drills.”

Lin recently posted comments on Instagram saying he expects to return next season as a starter in a “main role.” Atkinson laughed when those sentiments were relayed to him and said, “Of course.” But Lin’s return also will give the Nets a glut of point guards, including D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert, all of whom had demonstrable success this season.

“That’s how we started the season, and we figured it out with D’Angelo and Jeremy starting because they both played both [guard] positions,” Atkinson said. “Now you’re talking a lot of versatile guys. We don’t have one point guard out at the top, a traditional point guard like a lot of teams do. Our wings and our points are pretty much interchangeable. That was the blueprint of what we do.”

Atkinson said he basically has gone with the hot hand at point guard at the end of games, and that might not change. “We haven’t found that one guy,” Atkinson said. “I’m fine with that. I’m fine with sharing and figuring it out. At the end, it all plays out. That glut? It’ll play out. It’ll reveal itself.”

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