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Mazzeo: Sean Marks preaching patience —and culture of resiliency— at Nets’ quarter pole

Euroleague: CSKA Moscow 95 - 85 Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul Photo by Mikhail Japaridze\TASS via Getty Images

In an interview with Mike Mazzeo of Yahoo! Sports, Sean Marks is preaching patience and resiliency as the Nets reach the end of the season’s first quarter, particularly with injuries to Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert.

Marks, as he does, wouldn’t put a timetable on Irving’s return, saying it will be —somewhat— up to the Nets guard.

“I think the timeline for his recovery is somewhat up to him, but also up to his body and how that progresses. It could happen quickly or it could take some time,” Nets general manager Sean Marks told Yahoo Sports before Wednesday’s 113-108 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

“And where we are at this stage of the season — and where we are as a team over the next couple years — there’s no point in forcing guys to come back too soon. Especially a player of his caliber and expectations.”

The Nets, of course, have gone on a 9-4 run without Irving’s high powered scoring, but as Mazzeo points out, they blew two leads, against the Hornets and Heat, where Irving’s clutch gene could have helped. Marks doesn’t suscribe to the notion that the Nets are playing better without Irving (9-4) than they had with him (4-7).

“He’s definitely a special player,” Marks said of Irving. “There’s no question about that, and his talent speaks for itself. But again, I want to reiterate Kyrie’s previous quote — ‘The most important thing is to get wins.’ I think he’d be the first to tell you he’d trade those 50 points (on Opening Night) if our team won that night. So to be able to have a player that is able to go out there and do that I think is exciting.”

He also admits he’s a bit anxious about seeing what Irving (and Kevin Durant) can do when healthy.

“I think I’d be lying if I was saying no,” Marks responded when asked if he’s eager to see his superstars both healthy and on the floor together. “We’ve set this thing up to have some pretty good talent on the team here. Nobody knows how all this is going to pan out. I don’t know how it’s going to pan out. I don’t even think we’re at the halfway line yet.”

Marks was asked about conspiracy theories that Irving timed his shoulder injury to avoid playing at Boston Garden, something former player Kendrick Perkins suggested on ESPN. Marks was ever the diplomat, ever restrained (at least in public).

“I think everybody’s entitled to their opinion,” Marks told Yahoo Sports. “All I’m going to say is I’m never going to judge a guy on another team until I get to know that person. And I think it’s pretty clear that Kyrie’s not missing a game in Boston and going to sit out two weeks just to avoid one game. He’s legitimately hurt.

“I think we’ve seen how competitive Kyrie is when he was healthy at the beginning of the season. And I give him credit for wanting to be back out there at 100 percent. So let’s judge this book when we get through a few chapters here — not the first 5-10 games of the season.”

Marks added that he thought his star point guard has reserves of resiliency that he and we will see when Irving takes the court again. He’ll want to quiet his critics.

“We set out to find resilient players and guys with a chip on their shoulder,” Marks said. “Resiliency is something that Kenny harps on. We all do. It’s on our walls here. You never want to see guys like Caris and Kyrie get hurt. But at the same time, it’s a great opportunity for our other players, and I think they’re seizing it. At the same time, we all know over the course of an 82-game season things can go in a lot of different directions. So by no means are we relaxing at all.”

Kenny Atkinson also argued that Irving’s absence has helped his younger players ...and those like Garrett Temple and David Nwaba who’d been under utilized.

“You learn not to get as flustered and stay the course a little better and trust the new guys,” Atkinson said. “I think you’re just a little bit more calm in a situation like that having been through it before.”

Over the course of an 82-game regular season —and hopefully a run in the playoffs, that kind of experience and success will help big time.

“But part of this journey is going to be how these guys mesh together,” added Marks. So we’ve got to embrace that and I think it’s been fun to see the relationships grow on and off the court between our guys.”

It’s the way the Nets work. Next man up, trust the culture and above all, be patient.