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D’Angelo Russell, still inactive, will give Kenny Atkinson a point guard perspective on trip

Brooklyn Nets

D’Angelo Russell is back with the team after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He is still inactive and there is no timetable for his return, but it’s a positive sign to see him back with the team as they brace for a three-game road-trip.

Sean Kilpatrick snapped a picture of DLo on the team plane.

DLo made an appearance at Barclays Center on Thursday, watching the NIT Tip Off. Now, he’ll be watching as the Nets face the Grizzilies, Rockets and Mavericks.

His injury and resulting surgery was a deflating blow for Russell and the Nets, but Kenny Atkinson said that Russell remains in high spirits and ready to lead from the sidelines.

“Be engaged with the group. I think any of our guys that are out, whether it’s Jarrett Allen, D’Angelo Russell, Jeremy Lin, we like to keep those guys engaged,” said Atkinson.

Atkinson expects Russell to be active on the sidelines, hoping the 21-year-old can provide a point guard’s perspective, just as Lin did last season (and unfortunately just as JLin will do again once he’s cleared to sit courtside).

“I’m in constant contact. There’s no, ‘Forget about you, you’re over there.’ Especially with point guards, you want to hear their opinion. ‘What did you see?’ They help me. He’s good, and Jeremy has been good with that. So, continue that engagement and keep them involved with what we’re doing.”

So that will be his role going forward: lead even when he’s not playing. It certainly isn’t ideal but at least it’s something.

Russell was posting the best numbers of his three-year career, averaging 21 points, 5.7 assists and 4.7 rebounds in less than 28 minutes per game. He’s second in the NBA in usage rate. He has missed six games so far - five straight since injuring his right knee in Utah.

No timetable on his return and we don’t expect it to be any time soon.

He looked to be in good spirits when he took over Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s Snapchat and mocked him in a funny manor, one hour before tip-off.