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Nets injury problems ease … as Kenny Atkinson lauds Rodions Kurucs

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, whose defense was missed Wednesday against the Knicks, participated in some of the Nets practice Friday, but still isn’t practiced fully. He suffered a strained adductor injury on August 4 while warming up for a charity game in China sponsored by Jeremy Lin.

Similarly, Kenneth Faried practiced partially Friday. As Brian Lewis reported, Faried’s been out with an ankle injury.

No word on whether the duo will travel to Detroit for Monday night’s game vs. the Pistons … or participate in the Nets Practice in Park Saturday at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Shabazz Napier (hamstring strain) is already out for the second straight game. No word yet on Mitch Creek (adductor) or Alan Williams (ankle).

Meanwhile, Kenny Atkinson was enthusiastic about the performance of rookie Rodions Kurucs who scored 13 points, grabbed four rebounds, handed out two assists, stole the ball three times, all in 12 minutes.

How enthusiastic? Take a listen…

“He’s definitely not just a stand-in-the-corner shooter,” added Atkinson of the 6’10” forward. “He’s cutting through there, he’s flying through there. I’m making this guy sound like he’s Larry Bird, but yeah, a pleasant surprise so far.”

Maybe not Larry Bird, but the Nets coach did compare the Nets 20-year-old rookie to a young Andrei Kirilenko or Keith Van Horn.

Not bad considering just a few days ago, Kurucs was saying how he would be happy to play for the Long Island Nets.

On the other end of the scale, there was Jarrett Allen talking about how badly he got beat up by Enes Kanter (22 and 20.)

Kanter is one of the strongest guys in the whole league,” Allen said. “Honestly, he had a 20-20 game. It’s unacceptable on my part. But I still think I showed improvement in some areas about rebounding.”

As Greg Logan pointed out, Allen has bulked up to 237 pounds and gotten stronger, but still, he’s got to do better with technique if not muscle.

“I’m going to have to learn how to get them off the block,” Allen said of the league’s bulkiest bigs. “I’m going to have to adjust to not just rebound, but if I can’t get the rebound, help my team to get the rebound. My next step is in that area.”

Atkinson tried to take a bit of the onus off his 20-year-old big (two months younger than Kurucs by the way) and suggested line-up manipulations could help … once everyone is healthy.

“When a guy is really hurting us like that, we can make an adjustment with Kenneth (Faried), or we could flip Jarrett and Ed (Davis)’s minutes, too,” Atkinson said, suggesting that Allen might get more time against the opposing backups. “We could manipulate those matchups.”

  • For the Nets, there’ll be a challenge of the bigs – Greg Logan – Newsday

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