Storyline: D'Angelo Russell Injury

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D’Angelo Russell, who hasn’t played since mid-November due to arthroscopic right knee surgery, is progressing, according to Atkinson. Last night, a video surfaced, suggesting that Russell lipped the words ‘two weeks’ in a conversation with Kyrie Irving. It could’ve meant he’ll be ready in two weeks, could’ve meant that they’ll be going bowling in two weeks… no one knows. Atkinson claims he did not see the video, and says there’s no timetable on the star guard.

But coach Kenny Atkinson declined to provide specifics about Russell’s status before the Nets ended a five-game road trip with a tough 108-105 loss to the Celtics Sunday night. “He’s progressing along with our schedule,” Atkinson said. “I’d just say he’s working his tail off. I was watching him in the gym yesterday. It’s an arduous process. He’s putting in a ton of time, he’s putting in full days. It’s been amazing to see his work ethic. He’s been great.”

D’Angelo Russell doesn’t have any idea when he’ll be ready to get back on the court. But the injured point guard joined his teammates on the current trip, with Russell, coach Kenny Atkinson and the other Nets saying it can only be a good thing to have him around, involved and engaged during his rehab. “I’m feeling better and better every day. So yeah, it’s cool,” said Russell, who saw the Nets bet the Grizzlies 98-88 on Sunday at FedEx Forum. “I don’t know [the timeline]. Really, honestly I’m just trying to stay healthy and get as strong as I can before I get back out on the floor. It’s definitely not something I want to rush. …. I’m not really forcing anything, just doing what the trainers tell me day in and day out and go from there, see how I feel every day.”

Russell had arthroscopic surgery on Nov. 17 to remove loose bodies in his right knee. He insisted it had nothing to do with the 11 games he missed last season because of soreness in the same knee, and said he can come away from this stronger. “It’s just more of a strength factor for me now. It’s not a reoccurring injury. It’s not something that affected me from last year,” Russell said. “So I’m just trying to go in every day and get my strength in and all that right before I go back on the court.”

The young guard limped out of the postgame locker room and down the hallway to be looked at by the Jazz’s team doctor. The Nets (5-8) chartered home after the game and the 21-year-old will be examined again by Brooklyn’s team doctors. “No update. Checking him out now,” was all Nets coach Kenny Atkinson could offer. “I didn’t really see it. I didn’t see the play. I think when he landed on a jump, I believe that’s when it happened. … We’re evaluating him now. I guess we’ll do more tests [Sunday].”

He will sit out for at least two more weeks, including when the Lakers (8-9) play host to the Atlanta Hawks (10-6) on Sunday at Staples Center. Russell plans to travel with the team this week to New Orleans (Tuesday), Chicago (Wednesday), Toronto (Friday) and Memphis (Saturday) to continue his rehab. “Definitely don’t want to force anything back,” said Russell, who will be reevalauted later in the week. “I feel like I got to be 100 percent perfect before I step back on the floor.”
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