Nets’ Day’Ron Sharpe still has hurdles to clear before returning from knee injury

Nets center Day’Ron Sharpe is expected to be re-evaluated this week after missing five straight games because of a left knee hyperextension suffered in the team’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Jan. 7. He will not play in Monday’s rematch against the Knicks at Barclays Center, either.

“I’ve just been conditioning and lifting, basically,” Sharpe said. “On the bike and lifting, basically that’s it.”

However, Sharpe was seen doing light on-court work and conditioning drills after Monday’s shootaround in Brooklyn. Speaking to reporters for the first time since the injury occurred, he said he is still working to regain strength in his leg and still has a few hurdles to clear before he can return to play, but believes his recovery is trending in a positive direction.

“I think it’s just been tough overall,” Sharpe said. “I’m a basketball player. I like playing basketball. Not being able to be on the court, just to be able to shoot regular jump-shots, stuff like that, just kind of irritates me. Watching the game too, wanting to play you know, that type of thing. So I’m trying to get back as fast as I can but make sure when I come back, I’m not going to sit back out.”

Sharpe has averaged 7.5 points, 7 rebounds and 1.4 assists across 37 appearances this season while shooting 57.5% from the field. The Nets are 1-4 in games without Sharpe this season and 16-21 when he is healthy. Brooklyn has been forced to rely on small-ball lineups more heavily with the third-year center out, which often feature Dorian Finney-Smith at the 5 when Nic Claxton rests.

“He’s been working,” Cam Johnson said. “He’s been putting in work. Obviously he hasn’t been with us for a couple of days, but I trust him and I trust our staff to get him right… He’s been playing really well this year and we’re looking forward to getting him back.”

Sharpe averaged 10 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 blocks over his last 10 appearances off the bench while shooting 67.2% from the field. The Nets have an offensive rating of 115.8 and a defensive rating of 108.1 with him on the court this season.

“I really don’t get hurt that bad,” Sharpe said. “So it’s just tough. And I was playing well so you know, I’m just trying to get back into the flow of things and just start back up where I finished.”