The net players make an extra effort to get back on the field

Joe Harris, Ben Simmons, TJ Warren, Markive Morris and possibly Edmund Sumner are likely to play big minutes in the Nets rotation this season. Much of the fans’ hopes have been invested in these players, who gathered last year to play just 31 games, 17 for Maurice, 14 for Harris. The rest of them – Simmons, Warren and Sumner – were disqualified in 2021-22: no games were played.

Last week, we learned from Brian Lewis that Joe Harris is ready to go after undergoing two surgeries in November and exercising on his left ankle.

“Yes. All is well. All is well,” Harris. Agent Mark Bartelstein said. “He’s healthy. He’s in a great place. He’s ready to go for sure.”

Now, Sunday, Lewis is reporting on what Sumner hinted in a tweet 10 days ago, that he, too, is ready to go, saying he’s reached a milestone, which means he’s gone five to five for the first time. The Nets agreed to sign him after an exercise in June 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 work.

He’ll be right where he needs to be,” said Sumner coach Mike Robertson. “He’s back to five on five now, up and down the field. The last stage is now getting used to playing regularly, putting his legs under him. … I am sure he will be back and doing very well as the year begins.”

There is no word yet on the rest of the nets walking wounded. The last we heard about Simmons (back surgery) was from Shams Al Shaaraniyah. On August 22, he wrote, “Simmons has been acquitted of basketball activities three on three after back surgery in May, and is on track to be acquitted of full five-to-five activities in the coming weeks,”

There is no word on whether he has advanced to five over five although the Nets’ social media has been filled with pictures of him on the court, in the weight room. Same with Sumner (Achilles), Warren (foot) and Maurice (neck.) Everyone should be back and ready to go through training camp, now only eight days away. (And at the start of camp, nearly every team will reveal some minor medical issues that don’t quite amount to a dreaded “medical update” but can keep players on the sidelines for part of the camp.)

Meanwhile, as Lewis notes, players have gone through a lot to get where they are now. He often outlines what Sumner, who blew his Achilles a year ago, did in recent weeks as he prepared for the Nets season, explaining matters in Sunday’s opening paragraphs:

The day before Edmund Sumner’s wedding, he was at the gym, working out and rehabilitating his torn Achilles tendon.

The day before you fly to Bora Bora for your honeymoon in the South Pacific? He’s back again, putting in that sweat at the Indiana gym.

His coach said putting in the extra effort is what Sumner is all about. He not only underwent hyperbaric oxygen therapy (breathing pure oxygen in a room with a two- or even three-fold increase in air pressure), but quadrupled the norm.

“The standard protocol is five times a week for two weeks,” Robertson told the newspaper. “This guy, he did 40 sessions over the next eight weeks…to speed up the healing process and heal the hock faster.…he knew exactly how to attack the process.”

The Networks won’t need Sumner as much as Simmons, Harris or Warren this season. The 6’6″, 26-year-old can play in both guard and winger positions. He’s also an excellent defender, so he’s likely to get a few minutes with the Nets. Like Warren and Morris, he’s a low-risk signing with high rewards. He has a partial guarantee and if he plays well this season, the Nets can keep him for a minimum of a second year from the vets.

But regardless of the money and the length of the contract, what Sumner and the others have done so far has to do with love of the game, love of work. Can’t help rooting to get back. As Lewis also notes, “The Nets ended their unfortunate 2021-22 season by pledging to return to their bold identity and work ethic, and one thing is crystal clear: their new goalkeeper fits the bill.”