Josh Newman, SNYNets.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — As he prepares for his 18th season in the NBA, Jerry Stackhouse has been dealing with various ailments this preseason, including a sore right knee and a sore right hamstring.
These injuries were not considered serious, but the former University of North Carolina star hasn’t practiced since Oct. 10. But today, after sitting for 11 days, he participated.
Stackhouse participating in practice on Monday was a welcomed sight, but his absence has been a blessing in disguise since some of his younger, less established teammates have been getting extra minutes in his absence.
“They need the reps, I done had 18 years of reps doing this stuff,” Stackhouse said with a smile after getting some extra work in after practice. “The young guys—maybe some D-League guys who might not make the roster—have gotten more of a chance to to show what they can do. Everything happens for a reason. I got all the way up to training camp, a couple days before training camp, I pulled my hamstring. I tried to battle through it, but it just made more sense to take some days back.”
Stackhouse has had a distinguished career, averaging 17.4 points in 933 career games, but his production has waned over the past four seasons. But still, at this point, he can give teams quality minutes off the bench and is a strong locker room presence. And at 37 years old (he’ll turn 38 on Nov. 5), he’s an inexpensive veteran role player.
This season, the Nets are paying Stackhouse the veteran minimum for a player with his tenure—$1.35 million. And he’s being paid that simply for understanding where and how he fits in and for helping with younger teammates.
“When you’ve been around the game as long as I have, you learn a lot of the tricks,” he said. ”There’s always things you can add to your game. Guys are all ears when I talk and that’s a great feeling to have that respect. I think that’s a lot of the reason I’m here. It’s not about what I want, it’s about being able to utilize my skill-set.”
Stackhouse continued, “When you do that, you stick around a long time. There’s a lot of guys that haven’t been able to accept that. The change in your body, the change in you role and when you accept that, you can still be asset to a team.”
Just coming back after 11 days off, Stackhouse is not expected to play Wednesday against the Knicks at Nassau Coliseum in the preseason finale for both teams.
Keeping the Intensity Up
Head coach Avery Johnson has put his team through what he called, ‘basically football practices with pads on” the last two days. That is designed to keep the intensity up with a four-day break in between preseason games.
“Part of this is being a salesman,” Johnson said when asked how he keeps his players motivated through the monotony of training camp. “As a coach, you wear so many different hats and when I’m telling them we need to have the type of practices we’ve had the last two days.”
With the Nets getting set to take on the Knicks on Wednesday, Johnson will taper things off on Tuesday in preparation. The plan is to have a shootaround Wednesday morning before the 7:30 p.m. tip.
After Wednesday, the next time the Nets and Knicks play will be against each other on Nov. 1 in the highly-anticipated, nationally-televised season-opener at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Bogans, Watson Sit
Keith Bogans sat out practice again on Monday with what Johnson termed a sore right knee, while C. J. Watson sat out a second straight day with a tailbone issue. Neither injury in considered serious and both players are day-to-day according to Johnson
Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter for up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA.