Nets’ Caris LeVert nearly ready to return after thumb surgery: ‘I’m right there’

Though they wouldn’t specify a return date, Nets forward Caris LeVert is almost back to full strength after thumb surgery. (AP/Matt York)

More than six weeks after undergoing hand surgery, Brooklyn Nets forward Caris LeVert is nearly ready to make his return to the court.

LeVert finally resumed contact practices with the Nets this week, and can tell his comeback is imminent. He’s “right there.”

“It feels good to get out there and practice a bit with the guys,” LeVert said, via the New York Post. “They’ve been playing extremely well, so I can’t wait to get out there with him.

“Just getting my legs up under me [is the next step]. I was out a month, month and a half or so — I don’t really know how long it was — but just getting my rhythm, getting my legs back.”

LeVert underwent surgery on Nov. 14 to repair ligaments in his right thumb, and was given a six-week recovery window. He got off to a great start this season, too, averaging 16.8 points and five rebounds in his first nine starts of the year before hurting his thumb.

While he wouldn’t specify a return date, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said that LeVert is “getting really close.” He just didn’t want to officially commit to LeVert returning during their upcoming three-game road trip starting on Saturday in Houston.

“[He’s] getting closer,” Atkinson said, via the New York Post. “Just needs some more, mix it up a little more with contact. He did a lot of contact [Thursday]. Probably needs a couple more of those sessions until he and our medical team, performance team feel like he’s ready to go, but obviously getting much closer.”

Kyrie Irving still sidelined

LeVert may be close to his comeback, but Kyrie Irving is not.

Irving injured his shoulder on Nov. 12 and re-aggravated it again days later. He hasn’t played or practiced since, even missing a pair of games against the Boston Celtics, his former team. 

Atkinson said before the Nets’ 94-82 loss to the New York Knicks on Thursday night at the Barclays Center that Irving had yet to be cleared for contact, though doesn’t think that surgery is the right option at this point.

“I don’t think we are there yet,” Atkinson said, via ESPN. “We’re still in the rehab process.”

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