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Allen Crabbe, Caris LeVert “probable” for Sunday vs. Knicks

Allen Crabbe/Instagram

And they’re back.

Swingmen Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert fully participated in Brooklyn Nets’ practice on Saturday and are “probable” to play in Sunday’s preseason game against the New York Knicks at Barclays Center.

“Obviously, it gives us a little more offensive firepower – just nice to integrate them and get them playing with us against other players,” said Kenny Atkinson on Saturday afternoon at HSS Training Center. “It’s going to take time. We’ll see how they come off today’s practice and how they feel tomorrow morning.”

The injuries to LeVert and Crabbe provided minutes for Spencer Dinwiddie, DeMarre Carroll, Joe Harris, Sean Kilpatrick and others, a point Atkinson voiced after practice.

Once Crabbe and LeVert are integrated into the rotation, Atkinson says it’s going to take time for everything to click within the new look roster.

As for the division of labor, it’s a challenge Atkinson is looking forward to.

“It’s hard,” he said, nodding his head. “But it’s a great problem to have. That’s the problem you want to have. Instead of ‘oh my gosh, who do I put in?’ now I have choices, and the hard thing is I like all of them.”

Both Crabbe and LeVert were in positive spirits after their first full practice, and are hopeful they’ll play Sunday night after meeting with the Nets performance team in the morning.

Crabbe’s excited about joining in on the free-flowing system, citing Atkinson’s willingness to provide players with some leeway.

“Coach Atkinson gives his players freedom, and I think that’s what allows players to play to the best of their abilities,” Crabbe said, after acknowledging that he ‘felt good’ after practice.

“They’re not looking over their shoulder if they make a mistake. He lets them make basketball plays. It’s one thing to play against your teammates in practice and in training camp, but it’s important to get some looks from a different team and get up and down with my teammates. Hopefully the performance staff gives me a heads up and I’m okay to play tomorrow.”

For LeVert, who despite a well-documented history of foot issues, said he had no concerns over what he referred to as a minor setback.

“I felt good. I participated in everything – no more pain – I wasn’t concerned; it was a minor ankle injury,” he said. “It’s always good to get your rhythm up there. We have some new players, so it’s always good to see what we’re doing out there.”

Regarding their roles, Atkinson says it doesn’t matter whether they’ll play, the 2 or 3. He did mention that he has yet to decide on a starting line-up, now that it’s likely he’ll have healthy wings.

LeVert wasn’t concerned, and understands his role.

“I’m just coming and bringing energy whether I’m starting or not starting,” he said. “Two, 3, 1, whatever it is. I’m going to bring energy defensively and make things happen on offense. I feel like I had some success last year after the All-Star break. I’m excited, I’ve put in a lot of work this offseason to see the fruits of my labor.”

For Crabbe, whom Atkinson indicated was the second best three-point shooter last season, the Nets head coach would like to see him remain true to form from deep, and return to what he was defensively over his first two seasons.

“I watched him the first two years and liked what I saw,” said Atkinson. “Good length, smart … I’ve challenged him already: ‘let’s get back to that.’ I think the offense he’s going to figure out, but that’s what we need from him. He’s responded well.”

He also referred to Crabbe as “that pair of shoes you wanted, you didn’t get them, but they’re still there in the window and you’re like … ‘wait a second, I can still get them!’” He was talking about the Nets’ attempt to get Crabbe last offseason when he signed a four-year, $75 million offer sheet that Portland then matched.

As to how much we’ll actually see LeVert and Crabbe in preseason, Atkinson simply said: “Don’t expect a ton.” Of course, no one on the team has played more than 24 minutes in either of the first two contests.