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Source: Wizards center Nene has sprained knee

After initial fears of a season-ending knee injury, Wizards center Nene has suffered a sprained left medial collateral ligament and is expected to return before the playoffs, a league source told Yahoo Sports.

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Nene is expected to return before the playoffs. (USA TODAY Sports)

Nene will miss six weeks, a league source told Yahoo Sports.

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The injury could cost him most of the regular season, but there's strong hope he can return in time for the playoffs in mid-April.

The loss of Nene, 31, for the season would've been a difficult blow to the Wizards' hopes of making an impact in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Nene suffered the injury in Washington's victory over Cleveland on Sunday night. An MRI on Monday in Washington revealed the ligament sprain is the only injury in the left knee.

For Nene, this has been something of a comeback season for him – averaging 14.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. He's been an integral part of the Wizards' push to return to the Eastern Conference playoffs. Washington is 28-28 and holding onto the fifth seed in the East.

Without Nene this year, the Wizards have lost six of seven games. After struggling with an Achilles' injury earlier this season, Nene had played consistently for two and a half months and been a pillar in the lineup.

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