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Nets down three players against Timberwolves

D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Brooklyn Nets looks

D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on from the bench in the second half against the Toronto Raptors at Barclays Center on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018 in New York City. Credit: Jim McIsaac

MINNEAPOLIS — When D’Angelo Russell returned from arthroscopic knee surgery, the Nets were as healthy as they could get this season without Jeremy Lin, who is out for the year. It lasted four games.

They sat three players against the Timberwolves on Saturday night, including Russell, who was resting during the second game of a back-to-back as part of his rehab plan.

The bigger question is the status of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert, both of whom sat out with groin strains.

Asked if Hollis-Jefferson might be available when the Nets visit the Knicks on Tuesday night, Kenny Atkinson said, “I don’t want to speculate. Let’s be honest, it’s a challenge for our defense losing him. We’re going to have to be creative with how we approach it because Rondae’s such a versatile defender.”

Hollis-Jefferson stayed upbeat about his injury. “I’m good, a little sore,” he said. “I’m in good spirits, too. You have to stay positive through everything, and I feel like that helps not only your energy and your spirit but the guys around you.”

Without Hollis-Jefferson, Atkinson said more minutes would shift to centers Jarrett Allen, Jahlil Okafor and Tyler Zeller. “We’re just going to have to do it game-by-game by committee until Rondae comes back,” Atkinson said.

There’s no decision yet on whether Russell will continue to sit out one game in back-to-back sets. “He’s progressing fine,” Atkinson said. “It’s just a plan we have, and we’ll see going forward as these games and the next back-to-back come.”

Whitehead recalled

Isaiah Whitehead was recalled from the Long Island Nets to help fill the manpower void. “I’m a huge Isaiah fan,” Atkinson said. “I know he hit a buzzer-beater a week ago, we sent emojis back and forth. The good thing is we’ve left him in the G League for a while because we think that’s good for his development. He definitely agrees with us.”

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