Nene injury: Sounds like Wizards' big man won't play vs. Nuggets

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The on-again, off-again injury issues with the Wizards' big man continue to frustrate.

As you know, two Wizards starters left Friday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks. One, Martell Webster, is pushing to play on his sprained ankle. The other, Nene, appears heading the other way. Via J Michael of CSN Washington:

"Everybody saw me limping. I try to do my best but I can't be crazy," said Nene, who left the Milwaukee game in the third quarter. "I was scared to have something worse (happen) to my Achilles. I needed to step back. I needed to walk away. What I can do I've been doing, physical therapy, lifting, everything in my control I've been doing."

Playing against the Nuggets, who traded him to Washington, isn't a priority. "I've been suffering with this thing in the last two weeks. I don't know. I want to treat this thing here and be able to play and enjoy the game again. Playing in pain, that's not fun. ... I don't care about Denver. I care about myself. I care about my team."

Who knows how injured Nene really is. But this anecdote from Jason Reid's column in the Washington Post adds another feather to the "Nene babies injuries" cap.

Early last week, Nene did a little of everything in a 98-80 victory over the Orlando Magic, totaling 14 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots in 31 minutes. Not bad for a reluctant participant. Before the game, Nene told Wizards center Marcin Gortat he needed a night off. Nene figured his new best friend on the team would provide a sympathetic ear, but he guessed wrong.

Although Gortat joined the Wizards just before the season began, he has been with them long enough to know how to handle Nene. Gortat cut off Nene mid-sentence and challenged him to play through his pain, which he did. For Gortat, mission accomplished.

"I know he wasn't happy with me," Gortat said. "I know he was in pain. But it's better he's angry with me and he plays. You know why? Because our team needs him."

Gortat later said he tells Nene "you're too big to complain," and Wizards folks are sort of quoted in the piece saying that "he prefers to work when he's in top form."

Again: I don't know how injured Nene is. Neither do any of us. But I suspect that it's the on-again, off-again quality Reid discussed that convinced the Nuggets to move on from his massive contract in 2012. This was their "buyers remorse." And now, the Wizards may just have to live with that for the duration of his contract.

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