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Getting closer? Steve Nash gives updates on his walking wounded, new faces

NBA: Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets are back practicing for their first game post All-Star Break Thursday vs. Boston at Barclays Center. And officially, there’s not much change as per the injury status report posted Wednesday afternoon...

Dragic (return to competition reconditioning) - OUT

Durant (left knee - MCL sprain) - OUT

Harris (left ankle surgery) - OUT

Simmons (return to competition reconditioning) - OUT

Irving - OUT

But as discouraging as that report is, it doesn’t tell the whole story about Brooklyn’s prospects. While Joe Harris has yet to begin high-intensity training — “He is still working through things,” Nash said — the rest of the group appears to nearing return, with the best player in the league closest to return.

“No clarity on Kevin or Ben, but I think they’re both working their way back,” Nash said after Durant participated in practice on Wednesday. “Kevin is probably closer to coming back and is progressing nicely.”

James Johnson told the assembled media that KD looks like ... well, KD.

“He’s looking like Kevin. It’s hard to tell because he’s so dominant,” Johnson said. “His C games and B games are always a lot better than a lot of people’s As. You know it’s hard for me to tell so it’s probably a question for him.”

Meanwhile, Dragic seems closer to playing than one might expect considering that he hasn’t played since November when he played five games for Toronto.

“No. He hasn’t played for months but he’s been training,” Nash added. “I think he’s close, but I don’t know about the next couple of days. He’s definitely not going to play tomorrow, but we will see after that. It could be two or three games before he plays. We just don’t know.”

Meanwhile, reporters caught a glimpse of Simmons working with Kyle Korver, who knows something about shooting, Simmons big weakness...

Johnson had strong words about Simmons as well.

“I know a lot of people should be scared of a mental-healthy Ben Simmons. If he’s right, he’s going to be killing,” said the 13-year veteran.

Dragic, speaking for the first time as Net, confirmed what Sean Marks told season ticket-holders Tuesday night: It was all about his connection with Nash with whom he played 190 games at Phoenix. He said he had pitches from six NBA clubs, all contenders.

“I chose Brooklyn because I think they have a really good chance to win a championship, especially to play alongside [Durant], Kyrie [Irving], Ben Simmons, Aldridge,” said Dragic who admits calling Nash “coach” is going to be difficult.

He reminisced about those early days in Phoenix with Nash after being drafted in the second round in 2008.

“At that time, I made that decision I was going to come from Europe to NBA — only because of Steve,” said Dragic. “If that were some other team, I probably would have stayed in Europe another two or three years.”

Since then, Dragic was selected to the All-Star Game (2018) and named All-NBA (2014) and Most Improved Player (2014).

Dragic also spoke about why Toronto decided to send him home. The Raptors wanted “to go young, and they didn’t see me [being] part of that team,” Dragic told the media.

As for Irving, that’s up to City Hall, Nash noted, but like Sean Marks and Irving himself, Nash is optimistic that at some point, Irving will be permitted to play at Barclays Center.

“It’s great, obviously,” Nash said. “It would be great for us to have Kyrie available for all our games. Having said that, it’s not really in our control, so we’ll leave it up to the mayor and wait patiently.”

Nash said Irving is locked in while he waits on the Mayor.

“I will say that he’s been extremely locked in,” Nash said. “Kyrie’s been great on the practice floor. He’s been great in film sessions. He’s been creating dialogue over aspects of our play. So I sense a real focus and urgency from him. And so if that’s any indication, I would say he is getting excited at the prospect of being allowed to play in all our games and hopefully in the short term.”