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Terry, Kirilenko return to practice

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brooklyn Nets reserves Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry returned to practice Sunday.

Kirilenko has missed 22 games this season due to back spasms, while Terry has missed 15 games due to a knee injury. Kirilenko has not played since Nov. 8, while Terry has not played since Nov. 20.

GM Billy King said Kirilenko is “getting close” to returning to the lineup. Kirilenko, who has had three setbacks and received two epidurals while trying to get back, has said he’d like to be playing before the team heads to Indiana on Dec. 28.

With center Brook Lopez out for the season, it will be big for the Nets to get some reinforcements.

• Nets coach Jason Kidd has not yet figured out who will replace Lopez in the starting five.

“We’ll make that decision tomorrow,” Kidd said.

Mirza Teletovic, Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans are the viable candidates.

• The Nets don’t plan on over-exerting power forward/center Kevin Garnett as a result of Lopez’s injury.

“We got plenty of guys,” Kidd said. “Not looking at trying to stretch KG’s minutes, but we got plenty of guys that can play the five and the four. This team is built on depth. We’re waiting on that to give us some win.”

Garnett, 37, is averaging 22.1 minutes per game. He did not play in Philadelphia on Friday so he could rest.

• Small forward Paul Pierce knows what it’s like to try and overcome a major injury to one of his teammates. Last season, the Boston Celtics lost point guard Rajon Rondo for the season, but Pierce and Garnett stepped up and got their team in the playoffs.

“I mean, we just collectively came together pretty much,” Pierce said. “Everybody pretty much had written us off not to make the playoffs, which was kind of laughable at the time to me.

“But like I said, we got guys in here that are capable, and I think the mentality is not going to change in here. We can’t use that as an excuse. We have to come out here and continue to do our jobs each and every day regardless of who’s out there. We dealt with the injury bug all year. This is definitely a big blow but, it feels good because today we got a chance to see Jason Terry out there after missing time and we got to see Andrei Kirilenko after missing time. Hopefully these guys can come back and give up a spurt.”