When thinking about the Brooklyn Nets season so far a lot of things come to mind and Andrei Kirilenko probably isn’t one of them. Sure, there were big plans for him at the beginning of the season, but that was before back spasms forced him to miss 26 of the Nets first 30 games.
Kirilenko might finally become part of the picture as he practiced on Monday and afterward he told reporters that he expects to play on Tuesday night against the Spurs as long as there are no further setbacks. On Tuesday morning, he told reporters that he felt good and the Nets officially listed him as “probable.”
The “no further setbacks” part is obviously the biggest catch. Kirilenko, who has dealth with back problems for years, has already had at least three setbacks this season.
He last played on Nov. 8 against the Wizards, had a setback and went back to the bench. He was expected to return on Nov. 24 against the Pistons, but once again had another setback. More recently, the Nets were hopeful that he would return around Christmas, but that obviously didn’t happen.
Kirilenko could be a big help to the Nets if healthy because he plays strong defense and also contributes on offense as well. In the four games that he did play this year, he averaged 15.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.0 steals per 36 minutes with a true shooting percentage of 51.4. It’s still hard to see them competing for a championship even with him back, but it will certainly be a big boost.