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Signed to second 10-day contract with Nets, Jason Collins continues to contribute

Jason Collins of the Brooklyn Nets speaks with

Jason Collins of the Brooklyn Nets speaks with the media prior to a game against the Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center on Monday, Mar. 3, 2014 in Brooklyn, New York. Credit: Jim McIsaac

There is no missing Jason Collins' presence on the Nets' roster, now guaranteed for at least 10 more days and likely the rest of the season.

And that's where the story stands: A seven-foot, 12-year NBA veteran providing the Nets with a bit of size and savvy at the end of the bench, and therefore worth a second 10-day contract. When that expires, the Nets must sign Collins for the remainder of the season or let him go.

In last night's 103-94 victory over the big, lumbering Memphis Grizzlies, Collins entered the game four minutes into the second quarter and immediately had an impact: Rebound, forced Memphis turnover while bumping with Grizzlies 7-footer Kosta Koufos, then a hard screen to set up Marcus Thornton's three-pointer.

Collins played 17 minutes, finished with a rebound, an assist, a steal and two fouls.

Already, the dire warnings of an ongoing "media circus" that would follow Collins have disappeared. A free agent picked up by the Nets on Feb. 23, Collins -- who announced his sexual orientation last spring -- made history by becoming the first active, openly gay player in history of the four pre-eminent professional sports leagues in North America.

Collins was sought out for a couple of autographs and a fan's selfie during warmups before last night's game. NBA commissioner Adam Silver stopped by Collins' locker for a brief chat. Not typical for a man averaging 8.8 minutes and 0.5 points in six games.

But he stated his case for simply filling a need.

"I'm a defensive player," he said. "I've been that for my whole career and I feel I can help the team even when I'm not in the game. Just try to be vocal on the bench -- and if I see something out there that I think I can help the team -- I'm going to speak up."

Rather than the entire league being anxious over what some predicted could be Collins creating a "distraction" in the locker room and with endless media inquiries, it is Collins who might deserve to be on tenterhooks over his day-to-day employment.

At least for the next 10 days.

New York Sports