‘No concern’ with foot after missing two seasons injured – The Denver Post



Jacque Vaughn was watching closely as TJ Warren’s first official shot in over two seasons left his hands.

Was it going to be short? Was it going to be too long? Was it even going to hit the rim?

All of the above was on the table.

It was Warren’s first NBA action since Dec. 29, 2020, after which he missed back-to-back seasons with a stress fracture in his left foot.

There was nothing wrong with the shot.

Warren pump-faked to get Raptors big man Chris Boucher off his feet, then dribbled into a baseline mid-range jump shot.

Nothing but net.

“That thing was beautiful to watch,” Vaughn said. “I think he enjoyed being out there.”

Warren played 17 minutes in his Nets debut and finished with 10 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field. He said checking into the game at the 4:14 mark of the first quarter felt like a dream.

“As soon as I checked in it kind of hit me like this is real,” Warren said after the game. “Like I said once I got up and down [the court], it was just like ‘Alright, this is basketball.’ So it was just super fun to be out there competing with the guys.”

Oftentimes players lose trust in a body part that has failed them more than once. Warren said there were no concerns with his foot when he stepped onto the court for the first time. He was complimentary of the Nets training staff and credited them for his ability to finally make a return.

“I put in a lot of work to get back to this point,” he said. “I was super super confident in the way I was feeling, the way I was moving, feel like I was moving pretty good. (It will) only get better from here. I feel great.”

HOT HAND HARRIS

After a freezing-cold shooting stretch, Joe Harris has the hot hand.

Harris shot 5-of-30 from downtown during a five-game stretch from Nov. 22 through Nov. 28 before erupting to hit four threes against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.

He added another five threes on seven attempts before fouling out of the Nets’ victory over the Raptors on Friday.

Head coach Jacque Vaughn has started Harris in place of the injured Ben Simmons (calf strain) but was noncommittal when presented with the idea that Harris plays better as a starter. Prior to Simmons’ injury, Harris had come off the bench after dealing with foot soreness, and Royce O’Neale replaced him in the starting lineup.

“I’m really trying to get the guys to not lean on that [idea of starting roles],” Vaughn said. “Prime example is the other night we played, Cam Thomas did not play in the first half at all. And then he played 19 of 24 minutes in the second half. That’s the mindset we want to have. I had no problems, no qualms about putting Cam in tonight at the end of a game.

“So that’s where I want to get to is to have complete confidence in the group, and they have complete confidence that if they’re starting, not starting, missing two games, playing five in a row, they’re doing it for the sake of the team.”

CELTICS UP NEXT

The Nets host the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics on Sunday. Irving said the team doesn’t want the end of the fourth quarter against the Raptors — where Toronto whittled a 36-point lead ultimately down to seven — to spill over into Boston.

“It turned into a little bit of an All-Star game at the end,” Irving said. “Just a lot of easy baskets that Toronto was getting. Just for us to be a good team, we just got to play for a full 48 minutes.”

Kevin Durant said the key to handling the Celtics is being as solid on all ends as they are.

“We can’t make mistakes ourselves, because they capitalize on it,” he said. “So we just got to be solid, be ready to play. I’m excited about it.”

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