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Shams: T.J. Warren ‘targeted’ to make season debut Friday vs. Raptors at home

A little less than two years after his last NBA game, T.J. Warren is expected to return to play with the Nets on Friday vs. the Raptors at Barclays Center, per Shams Charania...

As Shams notes, Warren last played, for the Pacers, on December 29, 2020. He underwent foot surgery in January 2021 and has been rehabbing since. The Nets signed Warren to a one-year, guaranteed vets minimum deal in early July, then at Media Day noted that the 6’8” 29-year-old still had more rehab to do before he could play. At the time, then head coach Steve Nash said the team would re-evaluate his situation in November.

In recent days, Nash’s replacement, Jacque Vaughn, has been offering more and more upbeat updates on Warren, first noting that he’s had no setbacks in his rehab, then revealing that he has been playing 4-on-4 and 5-of-5 with coaches, then teammates.

Jacque Vaughn, asked at shoot around if he’ll see Warren or Yuta Watanabe (hamstring) this week, said, “We’re trending that way.” Both are progressing without setbacks, he added.

The addition of Warren may not make much of a difference to Brooklyn immediately as he ramps up. Once he’s in basketball shape and had some reps, he could be a big help to Brooklyn if he’s the same T.J. fans saw in the 2020 “Bubble.”

In the “Bubble” two years ago, Warren scored 266 in 10 games — averaging 31.0 in six regular season games, then 20.0 in four playoff games. He also shot 47.5% from three in the 10 games and was named to the All-Bubble Team. That 10-day game stretch also included a 53-point game vs. the Sixers in which he was 9-of-12 from three.

He could give the Nets another 3-point presence to stretch the floor and a complementary scorer. Warren is also a solid defender, a complete player. In his 10 “Bubble” games, he averaged 6.3 assists and 2.4 assists.

And if Warren debuts on Friday, he should be ready for a return to Indiana on December 10.