Feb 24, 2014, 5:40 PM EDT
When is being out 4-6 weeks with a sprained knee good news?
When you are about six weeks out from the playoffs and you thought you were going to lose an important contributor through the postseason.
The Washington Wizards were concerned starting big man Nene could be gone for the season but an MRI Monday revealed only a strain, reports Ben Standig at CSNWashington.com.
Nene, who injured his knee in the Wizards win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, will miss approximately six weeks with a sprained left MCL, the Wizards announced Monday evening….
Should Nene miss the full six weeks, he would be out until the week of April 7. The Wizards final regular season game takes place in April 16.
Barring an outright collapse, the Wizards will make the playoffs in the East (they are currently the five seed, five games ahead of nine-seed Detroit). But if they are going to need Nene and more than just his 14.2 points and 5.8 rebounds a night, they need his defensive presence.
Check out the numbers. When John Wall and Marcin Gortat are paired the Wizards are +7 per 48 minutes, or +6.5 per 100 possessions. When Nene and Wall are paired Washington still looks good at +5.4 per 48, or +5.3 per 100 possessions.
But when Nene, Wall and Gortat played together they were +10.1 per 100 possessions and allowed only 95.7 points per 100 possessions (the only team with a better defensive number than that is the Pacers). With those three healthy the Wizards are a team with a shot at the second round (so long as they stay out of the seven or eight seed).
And they should have all three for the playoffs (*knocks on wood*)