Nets’ Royce O’Neale slated for Friday return

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The Nets are expecting to get their last missing player back Friday, while they’re hoping to see others get back in sync. 

Royce O’Neale is slated to return in Toronto against the Raptors, a source told The Post. The veteran wing had missed the wins at Indiana and Washington due to personal reasons, but with Brooklyn enjoying a rare three-day span between games, he should rejoin the team this week barring any news or setbacks. 

Starters Ben Simmons and Nic Claxton are also shaking off some rust. 

Simmons had 10 points, six rebounds and five assists on Monday against the Wizards, after having missed five of the prior six games with a left calf strain. He had been playing his best basketball as a Net when the injury cropped up, so they’re hopeful he can swiftly regain that form. 

Claxton finished with nine points, seven boards and two blocks in his return after missing the previous two games with right hamstring tightness. He grew into the game after a slow start, logging a scoreless 4:44 first quarter saddled with three quick fouls. Kristaps Porzingis had 12 of his 20 points in that quarter. 

Royce O’Neal
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But Claxton showed signs of shaking off the rust in the fourth, with four points, two boards and both of his blocks. His activity helped the Nets hold the Wizards to 17 points on 7 of 20 shooting in the final period. 


The Nets assigned Day’Ron Sharpe to G-League affiliate Long Island ahead of its game against the Westchester Knicks on Tuesday night at Nassau Coliseum. With the Nets not playing again until the Friday game north of the border, it was an opportunity to get him playing time. 

“We do like when those guys get minutes. There’s nothing like being able to play in a game and see the speed of the game. Ideally when they get a chance to play, we want them to play in the G-League,” Jacque Vaughn said. “You have to use that to your advantage. There’s quality basketball, quality games being played on the G-League level. 

 Day'Ron Sharpe #20 of the Long Island Nets shoots the ball against the Westchester Knicks
Day’Ron Sharpe was able to get some playing time with the G League Nets.
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“If you have the right approach to it — which Day’Ron has — he’s going to Long Island to get better. … The approach is huge. It’s not a demotion: It’s part of the process you have to go through.We’re a pretty veteran-laden team. He’s trying to work his way into the lineup. And the G-League operates a lot of opportunity to keep your skills current.” 


Kyrie Irving spoke about the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner, who returned home to the U.S. late last week following a prisoner exchange with Russia. 

“I’m grateful she’s home,” Irving said. “I’m grateful she’s with her family. Most importantly, humanity comes first. We all feel for her. 

“We all feel for her and feel for everyone who is wrongfully imprisoned or in some prison somewhere where they haven’t gotten their justice. We feel for her, for sure. I’m just grateful we all can share in the celebration with her being here. Still more work to do out in the world.”

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