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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -Having nursed a right quadriceps contusion and a sore left heel for the last week and a half, Joe Johnson will return to the Nets' lineup this week, it's simply a matter of when.

The 6-foot-7 shooting guard practiced fully on Tuesday for the first time since injuring the quad in a 101-95 loss at the Los Angeles Clippers on March 23. He sat out the next four games, which the Nets split, but will return either Wednesday at the Cleveland Cavaliers or Thursday when the Nets return to Brooklyn to face the Chicago Bulls.

The game at Cleveland will mark the end of an eight-game, 17-day road trip, which the Nets are currently 4-3 on.

"Practice was great, it felt great to get up and down a little bit and see where I'm at," Johnson said. "I felt great, finished practice and we'll just kind of see how it feels tomorrow. Obviously, I'm going on adrenaline a little bit."

With nine games to go in the regular season, Johnson and the playoff-bound Nets have been cautious with bringing Johnson along in an effort to make sure he is healthy and available for late April and May when the first round of the playoffs begin.

At 4.5 games behind the Knicks, who have won eight straight entering a game at the Miami Heat on Tuesday evening, any hope of winning the Atlantic Division has all but faded. What is still at stake is a top-4 seed and homecourt advantage in the first round.

The Nets are one game ahead of the fifth-place Atlanta Hawks and 1.5 ahead of the sixth-place Chicago Bulls.

Indications are Johnson will not play both ends of the back-to-back and with the game on Thursday against the Bulls carrying a little more weight based on the standings, the more reasonable prediction for Johnson's return is then.

"I know it's a back-to-back, so I don't know," Johnson said when asked about the chances he would suit up in Cleveland. "It's kind of like you have to pick what game you wanna play in. We'll see.

Wallace, Evans sit

Gerald Wallace (sore left foot) and Reggie Evans (rest) both sat out practice on Tuesday. Evans went through a light workout that consisted mostly of lifting weights, but did not take any contact.

Josh Newman is’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter for up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA

Tags: Editorial Aside, Nets , Josh Newman
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