It's the offseason, which means it's time for hopeful takes on the health of players that often get injured and/or struggle through aches and pains throughout the season. It shouldn't be a surprise that there's optimism surrounding Nene's situation after a summer where he was able to rest and train on his own schedule instead of hobbling around for his national team.
CSN Washington's J Michael caught up with Randy Wittman and asked him about Nene's health. Wittman said that Nene looks good and will be able to play a full minutes load (emphasis mine).
"He got in town Aug. 30. He's been on the floor. He feels good. He's had a whole summer where he didn't have to worry about the pounding and the stuff he did last summer having the injuries he did and having to play on the (Brazil) national team and never gave his body a chance to recover. He's feeling good. He looks good. I'm pretty pleased with that. I anticipate him being ready to go. When did we play our last game? Five months ago? He's done a lot of good work this summer, not only from a rest standpoint but from physical therapy. He's built his strength back up. I anticipate we'll head into the season with no restrictions."
You'll recall that Nene was on a minutes limit for much of last season as he dealt with plantar fasciitis, even after returning to the lineup in late November. It sounds like Nene will be able to avoid that, at least initially.
HOWEVA, I think it would be wise for the Wizards to proactively rest Nene at different points throughout the season, whether it's sitting him on some back-to-backs, playing him fewer minutes, limiting his practice time or a combination of the three. Nene's importance to the Wizards cannot be overstated; he does so many subtle things on both ends of the court that add up to a package no other player on the roster can provide himself. But he also is under contract for several more years and is getting older. It wouldn't be wise for the Wizards to overextend him in a nervous attempt to maintain playoff positioning in the standings. That'll only end in Nene's body breaking down when the Wizards need him most.
A proactive "activity" restriction will require better production from the Wizards' young bigs and a return to health from Al Harrington so the Wizards don't suffer too much in the standings, but in the end, it's for the best. The Wizards heavily monitored Nene's minutes last year as he was struggling with plantar fasciitis. I think it'd be a good idea for them to employ a similar strategy before Nene starts dealing with that kind of pain.