Jeff Green won’t be available to play Saturday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals versus the Bucks, but that doesn’t mean the Nets are ruling the injured big man out for the series.
“Not really a timetable. He’s just out for [Saturday] and kind of day-to-day after that,” coach Steve Nash said. “So, just gonna continue to monitor it and then over the course of the next two, three days, hopefully get a clearer picture.
“He’s working out. … I shouldn’t comment on that because in case I get it wrong, but I definitely see him with our strength and conditioning team and performance team, doing his thing.”
Green hasn’t played since suffering a left plantar fascia strain on May 25. He was second on the Nets in games (68) and fifth in scoring (11 ppg) at the time.
“Jeff is a huge part of what we do, and we’re definitely gonna miss him out there,” Kevin Durant said.
Green has played both power forward and small-ball center, and his absence leaves Blake Griffin and Nic Claxton as the only bigs in the rotation.
Nash downplayed the notion that Green would have been tasked with slowing down Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“I’m not sure we had Jeff earmarked to guard Giannis anyway. So, we miss Jeff’s versatility and what he brings versatility-wise, but he wasn’t necessarily earmarked to cover Giannis,” said Nash, who added that DeAndre Jordan could return to the rotation for the first time since May 8.
Jordan sat out nine consecutive games — and 10 of 11 since Antetokounmpo torched the Nets for 49 and 36 points in back-to-back games May 2 and 4 in Milwaukee.
“There are going to be multiple people who’ll get a chance,” Nash said. “DJ is definitely in play, Nic’s in play, and BG as well. So it’s going to be by committee. [Antetokounmpo] is a terrific player as we all know, and is a really difficult matchup for every team. And he’ll be difficult for us; but we’ve got to take the challenge.”
James Harden is relishing the challenge of gunning for a title. After falling to several powerhouses in the playoffs, including the Warriors four times, he’s confident in this Nets team — as long as they’ve learned their lesson.
“Every year your plan is to win a championship — that’s every players dream and mindset every single year. Obviously, in reality it’s only a handful of teams that have an opportunity, and we’re one of those teams this year,” Harden said. “So the excitement is there, but the focus is the most important thing.”
“[It was] a learning experience Game 3 in Boston where we didn’t hang our hats on the defensive end and it showed. We let Jayson Tatum get 50 on us. So, I think from that point on defensively we were locked in, we were engaged.”