Report: Nets’ TJ Warren set to play 1st NBA game since 2020

TJ Warren, Brooklyn Nets
Sep 26, 2022; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward T.J. Warren (1) talks to the media during media day at HSS Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

TJ Warren’s much-awaited Brooklyn Nets debut is set on Friday against the Toronto Raptors, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

It has been a long time coming for Warren, who last played an NBA game on Dec. 29, 2020.

Warren has progressed in recent weeks from practicing with coaches to his teammates, according to Nets coach Jacque Vaughn.

The Nets gambled on the 29-year-old forward last summer, signing him to the veteran’s minimum deal, with the hopes of recapturing his Orlando Bubble form once healthy.

Warren was named to the All-Bubble First Team after averaging 31 points for the Indiana Pacers across the 8 bubble seeding games during the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season. He averaged a career-best 19.8 points on 53.6 percent shooting in his first season with Indiana following his trade, along with the 2019 32nd overall pick which turned out to be KZ Okpala, from Phoenix in exchange for three second-round picks.

But Warren failed to follow up on his brief success as he suffered a stress fracture in his left foot four games into the 2020-21 season. He underwent surgery on January 4, 2021, and was later ruled out for the remainder of the season.

He sat out the entire 2021-22 season while rehabbing his foot.

It is unclear how Vaughn will utilize Warren, who is expected to take time before rounding to form after a nearly two-year layoff. But Warren’s shotmaking and size could boost the Nets’ bench, loaded with wings with Yuta Watanabe and Joe Harris.

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