Mutombo annoyed with reports

By Tom Canovan

Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A broken right wrist isn't the only thing hurting New Jersey Nets center Dikembe Mutombo.

The veteran's pride was bruised, too, by reports suggesting that Nets coach Byron Scott had said he was slow to pick up New Jersey's offense in his first season with the team.

Mutombo, who will be sidelined three-to-four months with the wrist injury, met with Scott before the Nets played the Washington Wizards on Friday night.


"What I'm getting from my coach is that he didn't say what has been printed," Mutombo said. "It is a misunderstanding the way everything is coming out, that Mutombo is not understanding the offense.

"He says he never said that," Mutombo said. "He explained that he told you guys that it would take time for the new guys to work out the new system. The notion that Mutombo doesn't know the offense, the comment was too much. It was hurtful for me to accept that."

Scott said a lot of things were discussed in the short meeting.

"There was no air to be cleared," Scott said. "I talked to him in terms of what the doctors want him to do for the next couple of weeks."

Mutombo's statistics dropped drastically since New Jersey acquired him in a trade with Philadelphia. He averaged 11.5 points and 10.8 rebounds playing 36 minutes a game for the Sixers last season. In 16 games with New Jersey, he was averaging 7.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 25 minutes.

"I wasn't planning to have a meeting," Mutombo said. "He just called me in. Hopefully we can have a break on this issue. I need a nice mental recovery right now. The physical recovery I don't worry about."

Mutombo spent time before the game talking with Wizards assistant coach Patrick Ewing, who also had major wrist surgery.

Ewing is confident the 36-year-old Mutombo can come back.


"I told him do the rehab and believe, believe in your body and believe in yourself," Ewing said.

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