Starting Five: Livingston enjoys role

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It's remarkable, really, that Brooklyn Nets backup point guard Shaun Livingston is exploding off the floor, flying through the air and dunking with one hand during the preseason.

After all, this is the same guy who suffered one of the most gruesome knee injuries you'll ever see on Feb. 26, 2007. He tore three of the four ligaments in his left knee while driving to the basket as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers.

"Well he is 6-7 with an eight-foot wingspan," Deron Williams joked. "But it's good to see him back healthy. ... I'm happy for him. I've known him since he was in high school, so I'm happy on him to be back on the court and playing with him. I wanted to play with him at Illinois, but it didn't happen."

Livingston, 28, signed a one-year contract with the Nets in the offseason for the veteran's minimum. And while injuries have robbed him of the ability to become the star he was once touted as as a youngster, Livingston has become a very solid, pass-first floor general.

"I'm blessed just to be in this position, to be healthy," Livingston said Sunday after taking off his massive knee brace. "I couldn't ask for a better spot to be in right now. I'm just taking it day at a time, doing what I have to do, working and having fun doing it."

In Saturday night's 99-88 loss to the Detroit Pistons, Livingston, thrust into the starting role because of the injury to Williams, recorded seven assists and no turnovers in 21 minutes.

"I'm very impressed," Nets coach Jason Kidd said. "This is why we wanted him here. Because of his work ethic, where he's come from and the season he had last year. So I thought he'd be a perfect fit that he's here, and we're happy that he's here."

Added Williams: "He's gonna be huge. I think he's been great, he's been great at running the team, getting guys where they're supposed to be. He's a pass-first point guard, he's going to set people up. And then he can also get to the basket."

Livingston is enjoying his new starting role -- even if it's only temporary.

"I think Jason put it best, we've got to see rotations, lineups," he said. "When guys go down, it's part of sports. When a guy goes down, the next guy has to be ready to step up. So it gives me some action, some time to step in with the starters, and we look forward to getting Deron and Tyshawn [Taylor] back as soon as possible."

Added Kidd: "We're not gonna run his minutes up, but we all as a staff and also as his teammates all trust that the can run the show, and he's done it up to this point. It's not that we're gonna ramp his minutes up because he is right now our starting point guard, and we need him to be fresh and ready to go once the season starts."

Injury report: Actually, a lot of players are hurt. D-Will. Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms). Kidd isn't saying much about them, though. Check out our injury report.

Scuffle: Andray Blatche and Mirza Teletovic got into it at practice. For details, click here.

Debutants: Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce made their Barclays Center debuts Saturday night. Ohm Youngmisuk had the story.

Today: The Nets are in Philly to take on the Sixers.

Point of emphasis: The Nets gave up 50 points in the paint Saturday night. Can't happen again.