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Caris LeVert begins contact drills; no timetable set for return

Philadelphia 76ers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images

The Nets finally got some good news on the injury front. Caris LeVert began contact drills with the team’s coaching staff on Monday, a first since he underwent surgery on his right thumb ligaments back on November 14.

The team, which plays the Knicks Thursday at home and the Rockets in Houston on Saturday, would not discuss a return to action, but with David Nwaba recovering from season-ending Achilles surgery and Kyrie Irving still troubled by shoulder impingement, it’s nice holiday present. (“Merry Carismas,” as one fan put it.)

Our Anthony Puccio reports a league source told him there’s optimism inside about the wing’s return.

“I’m afraid if I promise something … I want to err on the side of wait-and-see,” Atkinson said. “After a day like (Monday), you do the evaluation, how did it react, all that stuff. I’d just say it’s real positive news how much he did in practice.”

With the holidays and travel, it will be difficult for the Nets to get LeVert much practice time before he gets minutes in a game. It’s also likely the 25-year-old, who has a history of various injuries, will be on a minutes restriction initially.

LeVert has missed 20 games, two more than Irving. In the nine games before he went down, LeVert was averaging 16.8 points, five rebounds and four assists at the 2. He was shooting 36.1 percent from three and 42.1 overall. The Nets signed him to a three-year, $52.5 million extension in the off-season.

Meanwhile, there’s no word on Irving’s return. He’s missed 18 games and won’t play vs. the Knicks on Thursday.

With Spencer Dinwiddie filling in, the Nets are 12-8 without LeVert, 12-6 without LeVert and Irving.