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Jarrett Allen returns to practice, available vs Boston

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Nets rookie center Jarrett Allen is back, practicing at full speed Monday, after missing six games with a foot sprain.

The No. 22 pick “looked good,” according to Kenny Atkinson, and he’s available to play in Tuesday’s game against the Boston Celtics.His return will fill a huge void for the Brooklyn front line.

“It feels fine, just to get back to the groove of this,” Allen said after his first practice in about two weeks. “It was frustrating (to get hurt) but personally, I see myself as a level-headed guy. I know I’m going to have, hopefully, a long career, so missing just a couple of games isn’t going to hurt me.”

Allen’s talked about how he suffered the injury at a practice in late October. It has kept him out of action since the Nets’ October 29 showing against the Denver Nuggets at home.

“I was running and it just didn’t feel right after,” Allen recalled. “I went and talked to a trainer and he said ‘you’re going to stay off of it for a while, monitor it, and get back into it,” he said. “Every big man’s feet hurt – you feel it for a day and then it goes away.”

Notably, even when Allen was healthy, the Nets struggled defensively against versatile bigs who can shoot like Nikola Jokic, Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and former Net Brook Lopez. Allen may not be a defensive stopper (yet), but he’ll definitely help fortify the frontcourt on the side of the ball Atkinson’s given him the most praise for.

“You need rim protection. That was my job when I was playing,” said Allen. “Just for me to come back, hopefully it’s going to be an improvement.”

So far as a rookie, Allen, who has played six games, has been good for 4.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks in 15 minutes per game. But with a 12’1” max reach, a function of his 7’6” wingspan and 35” vertical, he can cover a lot of territory below the rim ... and even some above it.