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Spencer Dinwiddie sees playoff return as ‘realistic’

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New Jersey Nets v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

In his most definitive statement yet, Spencer Dinwiddie told Diamond Leung of The Athletic that sees a return to the Nets in the post-season as a “realistic” possibility.

Leung spoke with Dinwiddie at Collision, an annual tech conference.

As he has most recently by tweeting “nothing guaranteed,” Dinwiddie couldn’t commit to the return but it’s the latest indication that the Nets point guard remains optimistic about a return after surgery for a partially torn ACL on January 5.

Two weeks ago, Steve Nash said that while the Nets are most concerned about Dinwiddie’s long-term health, he was “ahead of schedule.” Neither he nor Sean Marks would rule anything out, but their remarks were decidedly measured. Nash in fact would only commit to having Dinwiddie rejoin the team in Brooklyn.

“I think there is a time where he is going to come back to the team but I don’t know when that is to be honest. I know he’s still right in the thick of his rehab. He’s very dedicated, doing all the work and is ahead of schedule. I’m not sure when the date is,” Nash said. “If it’s playoffs, before the playoffs but I know there is the plan for him to come back and be around the guys when he gets the bulk of his rehab done.”

More recently, Sean Marks said Dinwiddie is someone who has proven again and again that he can come back from adversity.

“I would never bet against Spencer Dinwiddie. We saw that four years ago with him,” said Marks a little more than a week ago. “He has a chip on his shoulder. He loves to prove people wrong. Who am I to sit up here and be able to do something. That’s something that would only backfire.”

Dinwiddie, who’s been regularly chronicling his rehab, posted this update Thursday confirming that Leung tweeted about him moving from strength and conditioning to working out on the court...

That return to Brooklyn would be the next milestone for Dinwiddie’s rehab. He remains in Los Angeles where he’s been working out for months. Once back in Brooklyn, the Nets would likely have a better opportunity to judge his progress. Dr. Riley J. Williams III, the team’s medical director, also performed Dinwiddie’s surgery.

Dinwiddie has a player option this off-season and is widely assumed to be planning not to opt in. The option, for $12.3 million, is likely to be considerably less what he can get in the open market assuming he continues his progress. So, a healthy Dinwiddie would not only benefit the Nets in the post-season. It could also benefit him. On the other hand, as the Nets season has proven, setbacks are indeed a possibility and that would help neither side.