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August 2, 2016 / Sports

Nets first-rounder ready to get back to basketball

Ready to run: Nets first-round pick Caris LeVert has resumed running drills after foot surgery earlier this year and is determined to be ready for training camp before his rookie season gets underway.
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The Nets surprised fans when the team traded up for an oft-hamstrung Caris LeVert in June. He battled injuries four years at Michigan and was still getting over foot surgery when Brooklyn picked him up — but the Nets saw something in the 6-foot-7 guard, and he is determined to make Brooklyn’s gamble pay off.

“Obviously, the injuries were the biggest concern, but I have a pretty complete game,” LeVert said. “I’m working on getting stronger right now. I’m working on some of the more detailed parts of my game, but I think it’s a complete game.”

LeVert has slowly but surely been working his way back. He finally started running again on July 20.

LeVert is, unfortunately, quite familiar with his rehab routine, but he can’t deny the small flame of excitement he’s started to feel. He isn’t a huge fan of running, but if it means he’s closer to playing basketball again, LeVert is prepared to run a marathon.

“This isn’t the first time that I’ve broken my foot,” he said. “Unfortunat­ely I’ve been through it before, but every step of the way is a blessing. I’m just looking forward to the next step.”

LeVert knows that he has to take it slow — no matter how much he wants to get back onto the court and back to playing. This process can’t be rushed, and coming back before he’s completely ready would be a misstep. SO LeVert is playing by the rules and following a very detailed schedule.

“We’ve been moving on a week-by-week basis,” he said. “We’ll probably start with some running on the court and some cutting as well. I’ve been shooting jumpers. So I’m a couple of weeks away.”

LeVert is thankful to be in Brooklyn — not only because the team took a chance on him, but also because he’s anxious to see what this roster is capable of. The Nets spent the offseason bringing together youth and veteran leadership, and LeVert is ready to find his place in the mix.

“I think it’s definitely a good look,” LeVert said. “They have a great mix of young guys and veteran guys. There are guys that I can learn from and guys that I can grow with. So I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

LeVert hasn’t discussed playing time — or even what kind of backcourt role he’ll have — with the team quite yet. He’s waiting until he starts hitting jumpshots consistently before worrying about that.

He plans to be ready for training camp in the fall, but LeVert knows there’s plenty of work in front of him — in front of the entire team. There are plenty of questions facing the Nets this season, but LeVert isn’t worried about any of that.

Instead, he’s ready to put in the work and find a role with his teammates. And he’s ready to run right towards those goals now that he’s medically cleared.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day. We know it’s going to take some time and I’m here for the long haul,” LeVert said. “I’m glad they took a chance on me. I’m all invested and I’m all in.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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