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Chris McCullough is back, practiced 5-on-5 Friday

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Almost a year to the day that he blew out his knee at Syracuse, Nets rookie Chris McCullough practiced Friday, what the Nets called  "limited 5-on-5 practice with contact."  McCullough, listed as a 6'11" forward, has not yet been cleared for games, but that's likely not far off as he tests his knee in practice. He had been expected to begin practice sometime in January. This apparently is that time.

Lionel Hollins tamped down some of the enthusiasm by noting it's going take some time for McCullough to get adjusted to the NBA and the Nets.  Here's what he had to say, courtesy of Mike Mazzeo...

"“He's very athletic. It's nice to just have him start playing ... But he wasn't out there that long. It's another step. He's got a ways to go. ... You get the physical part (down), and now you've got to get the mental part and the timing. ... His last time playing was at Syracuse. This is the NBA. This is not Syracuse. So we've got to hopefully indoctrinate him into the schemes and plays. He really is a long ways from being an NBA player from a technical perspective."

McCullough himself was also conservative about his return.

"It felt great. Every step I take is big. I'm not really sure what the next step is. I'm just limited in what I can do. I just take it day by day. I haven't had a 5-on-5 contact practice since January (2015). I just have to get accustomed to the speed of the game, and I'll be good."

The Nets chose McCullough at No. 29 in the Draft last June. The team told him before the Draft that they would likely take him, what's caused a "soft promise."  Before he tore his ACL, McCullough was seen at as a potential lottery pick.