Joe Harris, Ben Simmons, T.J. Warren, Markieff Morris and maybe Edmond Sumner are all likely to play big minutes in the Nets rotation this season. A lot of fans’ hopes are invested in those players, who last year combined to play only 31 games, 17 by Morris, 14 by Harris. The rest of them — Simmons, Warren and Sumner — zeroed out in 2021-22: no games played.
Last week, we learned from Brian Lewis that Joe Harris is ready to go after undergoing two surgeries in November and March on his left ankle.
“Yes. He’s all good. He’s all good,” Harris; agent Mark Bartelstein said. “He’s healthy. He’s in great place. He’s ready to go for sure.”
Now, Sunday, Lewis is reporting what Sumner hinted at in a tweet 10 days ago, that he, too, is ready to go, saying he had reached a milestone, presumably meaning he had gone five-on-five for the first time. The Nets agreed to sign him after a June workout when his rehab was still underway. His surgeon is Nets foot and ankle specialist Dr. Martin O’Malley who also did Kevin Durant’s achilles.
“He’s going to be right where he needs to be,” said Mike Robertson, Sumner’s trainer. “He’s back into five-on-five now, getting up and down the court. The last stage now is getting used to playing regularly, getting his legs underneath him. … I’m confident he’s going to be back and looking very good come the start of the year.”
No word yet on the rest of the Nets walking wounded. Last we heard on Simmons (back surgery) was from Shams Charania. On August 22, he wrote: “Simmons has been cleared for three-on-three basketball activities following back surgery in May, and he is on track to be cleared for full five-on-five activities in the coming weeks,”
No word on whether he’s advanced to five-on-five although Nets social media has been filled with images of him on the court, in the weight room. Same with Sumner (achilles), Warren (foot) and Morris (neck.) Everyone is supposed to be back and ready to go by training camp, now a mere eight days away. (And at the start of camp, virtually every team will reveal some minor medical issues that don’t rise to the level of the dreaded “medical update” but could keep players on the sidelines for part of camp.)
In the meantime, as Lewis notes, players have gone through a lot just to get where they are now. It often laying out concisely what Sumner, who blew out his achilles tendon a year ago, has done in recent weeks as he preps for the Nets season, laying things out in his two opening paragraphs Sunday:
The day before Edmond Sumner’s wedding, he was in the gym, working out and rehabbing his torn Achilles tendon.
The day before flying to Bora Bora for his South Pacific honeymoon? He was back again, putting in that sweat equity in an Indiana gym.
Going the extra mile, his trainer said, is what Sumner is about. Not only did he undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy (breathing pure oxygen in a chamber with the air pressure increased two or even threefold), he quadrupled the norm.
“The standard protocol is five times a week for two weeks,” Robertson told The Post. “That dude, he did 40 sessions over the next eight weeks … to expedite the healing process and get that Achilles healed faster. … He just knew exactly how to attack the process.”
Nets will not need Sumner as much as they will need Simmons, Harris or Warren this season. The 6’6” 26-year-old can play both guard positions and the wing. He is also a plus defender so he’ll likely get some minutes with the Nets. Like Warren and Morris, he’s a low-risk, high-reward signing. He has a partial guarantee and if he plays well this season, the Nets can have him for a second year at vets minimum.
But putting aside the money and contract length what Sumner and the others have done so far is about the love of the game, the love of the work. Can’t help rooting for the return. As Lewis also notes, “The Nets ended their sorry 2021-22 season vowing to get back to their gritty identity and work ethic, and one thing is crystal clear: Their new guard fits the bill.”
- Edmond Sumner looking to bring grit to Nets - Brian Lewis - New York Post