Deron Williams cleared to return

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The reeling Brooklyn Nets will get a boost with Deron Williams' return to the lineup.

The Nets' starting point guard said he will play at Charlotte on Wednesday after missing the last two games with a sprained ankle. Williams injured his left ankle against Phoenix on Nov. 15 and hasn't played since.

He practiced Tuesday and said there will be no restrictions on him when he returns.

"Nope," Williams said when asked if there will be a minutes limit. "I'm going to play."

The Nets (3-7) have lost five of their last six games and can use their top point guard back. Williams, who missed the majority of camp with a right ankle injury, is averaging 10 points and 6.5 assists per game this season.

"He looked good," coach Jason Kidd said. "We had a good practice. Deron looked good."

Shaun Livingston, who scored 23 points in a 108-98 loss to Portland on Monday, has been impressive filling in for Williams.

The Nets' health is improving at a critical time, as they play five of their next seven on the road. Center Brook Lopez, who has also missed the last two games with a sprained ankle, said he feels good enough to play.

"I don't know how long it's going to be, that's not up to me," said Lopez, who landed on teammate Kevin Garnett's foot during the Nets' win over the Suns last Friday. "I feel good. I feel like I could play. I'm not the one calling the shots there. We've got to think about long-term."

Kidd said Lopez will continue to undergo treatment and the team will see how its center feels at shootaround Wednesday morning.

Forward Andrei Kirilenko (back) said he believes he is three or four days from gaining clearance to return. Kirilenko, who has missed five games with a back injury, will also make the Nets' upcoming road swing to Charlotte and Minnesota.