After missing six games with a sprained foot, Nets rookie center Jarrett Allen was able to return for Tuesday night’s game against Boston. He hadn’t played since suffering the injury October 29.
Coach Kenny Atkinson said Allen’s return could be a big lift for the team going forward because “the glimpse we’ve seen — I’ve really liked.” Allen averaged 4.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and 15 minutes in six games before he got hurt.
“I’m very bullish on Jarrett Allen. Especially defensively he can really help us,” Atkinson said. “He gives us a presence at the rim on offense. He’s athletic. It’s good news he’s back.”
Being out with an injury was a first for the 19-year-old Allen. He didn’t miss a game during his freshman year at Texas before the Nets drafted him in the first round. But he knew from the discomfort in his foot that he was going to miss some time.
“I never thought of a timetable. I knew I was hurt, but I knew it wouldn’t be a bad injury,” he said. He added “nobody likes not playing” and said he found it frustrating to watch when he could have made an impact.
After warming up for the game, Allen came off the court and said “it feels good dunking again.”
Russell’s return not known
The Nets haven’t put a timetable on when point guard D’Angelo Russell will return from the knee contusion that has him sidelined. Atkinson was asked whether the staff discusses his return in terms of “days, weeks or months” and replied, “It’s updates every day. That’s where we are, daily updates . . . I am hopeful it will be sooner rather than later.”
Russell is averaging 20.3 points and 5.2 assists.
Part of the Nets’ planned solution to deal with the loss of Russell was to start Spencer Dinwiddie and use Isaiah Whitehead as his primary backup. Whitehead had only played in three games before Tuesday night, but had seen action with the G-League Nets. Whitehead said he’s been watching and talking to Dinwiddie because “he’s had a tremendous season so far — whatever he’s doing I want to do . . . we’ve been talking already about how he controls the offense and things like that.”
Whitehead has been inconsistent since he got into the mix a week ago, but he played well in a second-half comeback in what ultimately led to Saturday night’s loss in Utah.
“He was a big reason why we got back in the game,” Caris LeVert said. “It was definitely good for all of us to see. We know the type of work ethic he has and the work he’s doing behind the scenes.”
With Greg Logan