On Draft Night, Chris McCullough (and his agent) said he expected to be practicing by November, 11 months after he tore his ACL, the first real injury of his career. The same night, Chad Ford among others suggested he could be out for the year, permitting some to spin that the 6'11" Syracuse product will, in effect, be the Nets 2016 first rounder.
Now, in Billy King's discussion with the media and a McCullough interview with Tim Bontemps, there's some hope, but also still mystery about when Nets fans will see the Bronx native take the floor.
"He’s on the court, he’s doing some stuff, rehabbing," said King. He’s on the court shooting with (Director of Physical Therapy) Lloyd (Beckett) and his team, doing physical therapy. We’ll give a timetable on exactly where we think he’ll be after [the first] preseason game.
"We’ll sit down with him and his agent and everybody and really just walk through it," King added, referring to the contest with Fenerbahce Ulker on October 5. "He has a long career ahead of him, so we want to get him to the point where he’s strong in both legs, and when he comes back he’s ready to be playing for a long time. Not get him back on the court and have a setback."
King added there's "a possibility" that the 20-year-old might be ready by "the latter part of the season." He said he has an idea of what the timetable is, but didn't elaborate.
As for, it's not happening.
"It’s a long process," McCullough told Bontemps. "I’m still nowhere near ready. You’ve just got to mentally lock in and be ready to do what you’ve got to do. That’s where I’m at right now ... "But I’m not going to rush it. I’m taking my time with it and being patient."
And what about if he has to sit out the full season, meaning his first competitive basketball won't take place till July, 18 months after his injury.
"I’m definitely taking it day-by-day," he said. "If I have to sit out, it’s going to benefit me in the long run, so I’m not even mad about that."
In a Facebook add-on, Bontemps posts other materials from his interview. Bontemps asked what he was most looking forward to when he finally gets on the court.
“I want to guard Dwight Howard,” he said.
And why Dwight?
“He’s real strong,” McCullough said with a smile, “and I want to see how strong he really is.”
But there's no doubt he's antsy. He put on a little show last month at the Nets gym, recorded by a local videographer. Not even cleared to run back then, he was shown dunking, displeasing King. So for now, he, the Nets and their fans will have to wait. For how long, no one knows.
- ‘Walking on fire’: 8 months later, Nets’ big man gamble without timetable - Tim Bontemps - New York Post