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New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2008-09-22 News New Jersey Nets

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News » New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2008-09-22

New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2008-09-22

New Jersey Nets Getting Inside 2008-09-22
There were injuries to his shoulder, knee and wrist. But mainly, there was fatigue for Yi Jianlian in his NBA rookie tour of duty with the Bucks last season.

So when he faced the proverbial wall all rookies eventually face, he didn't just hit it. He rammed into it, full speed, head down. Eventually, the Bucks were forced to yank him from the starting unit in favor of a guy they desperately wanted to replace in the first place, Charlie Villanueva.

The Nets are aware of Yi's brief NBA history. They'll monitor the forward's situation, they said. And they'll have to monitor it very close because Yi is coming off the Olympics and training for the games in his homeland with the Chinese National team was about as relaxing and refreshing as a double-quick stroll around the globe. Twice.

"I don't think it's a science," coach Lawrence Frank said of keeping players fresh. "Each guy is different. There was that rash a couple of years ago with guys playing internationally and they got hurt during the year. You monitor it and see where he's at and the whole thing is trying to pace him throughout the year. The good thing is he's 20 years old, or 21.

"We want to make sure he gets stronger as the year goes on and try and take the best path for it. At the same time, the thing he has going for him is he is real young. And some of the stuff it's like anything else. Well, the Chinese team practices twice a day. Well, how hard are they going?" Frank added. "You've got to factor in all of those things."

Yi, the primary piece obtained in return for Richard Jefferson, who was the Nets' best player from start to finish last season, is a key to the team's rebuilding blueprint. There will be three rookies, three players acquired by trade and at least two free agents on the roster when the season opens. Only three players remain from the start of last season's training camp: Vince Carter, Josh Boone and Sean Williams.

Yi insists this season will be different. For starters, he arrived in New Jersey a month before the start of camp and began conditioning drills. In Milwaukee, he showed up just a few days before and felt the effects. He's better prepared, he said.

"Last year, I came to the training camp like two days (early). This year I came here by one month, got time to practice with the team. I can do a lot of things to be ready for the new season," Yi said.

"For me, this is the second season," Yi added. "I came here much earlier than last season so I have more time to settle in and to communicate with my team and teammates for a better transition than last year so I think this year the situation is much, much better.

"And don't worry about the Olympics taking a heavy toll. I'm fine, I'm still young," he insisted. And next year should be a breeze. There are no Olympic obligations.

Of course, the Nets are sort of concerned about this season, especially with so much gloom, doom and losing forecasts for the remade team.

"I think it's not too difficult for me or us to come together because we all are professional players and just play the game. Other teams still have new players like us," Yi offered. "It is not a problem to play with each other and just focus on that."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: September 22, 2008


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