Nene Hilario is a core player for the Washington Wizards. It was awful seeing him strain his left ACL as losing him for the past few weeks has been tough on Washington. But this team has grown a lot from it and it led the Wizards to discovering Drew Gooden.
The Wizards were able to go 12-9 without Nene. Even with more wins than losses, his absence was very apparent as Washington fell down the standings and performed below average defensively. When Nene went out, Trevor Booker took over his starting role. Booker played fairly well, but his offensive skill-set was still not enough to fill the void.
Nene has not played in a game since Feb. 23, but CSN Washington has reported that he has been participating in non-contact drills during practice for the past week. Washington is hoping to get Nene some action before the playoffs start, which is a very smart move. Right now Nene could come back on Apr. 9 against the Charlotte Bobcats, and his return will immediately improve Washington.
The expected return of Nene is great news for the Wizards. Without him, we have yet to see the very best from Washington. Having a complete roster will make a huge impact during this year’s postseason. Nene played in 49 games this year before his injury. During those games, he averaged 14.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. He is a complete package big man, who can shoot the jump shot as well. Nene is going to bring back a lot of intensity when he returns to play and his presence will automatically make the Wizards a better team. This is perfect timing for him to return which strengthens Washington’s chances of winning a first round matchup.