Kerry Kittles was activated from the injured list by the New Jersey Nets on Monday, although teammate Keith Van Horn questioned whether the fourth-year guard was being forced back because the team is struggling.
"I think in a lot of ways he is being pressured into coming back," Van Horn said a little more than a hour before the Nets (1-5) played the Seattle SuperSonics at Continental Airlines Arena.
Kittles has been sidelined since the start of the season with soreness in the right knee. He had surgery on the knee in the offseason.
Kittles said Van Horn's assessment was wrong.
"It's just a comfort level you have to reach," said Kittles, who scored three points in seven minutes, hitting 1 of 7 shots from the field in New Jersey's 100-92 loss to the Sonics. "Whenever you have an injury, I think the player has to be able to feel comfortable to come back and play. I think I have reached that point."
After it became obvious that his comments had created some controversy, Van Horn asked team spokesman John Mertz to have the media meet with him in the locker room about 45 minutes before the game, a time when the media's pregame access to the locker room ends.
Van Horn said he had just spoken with Kittles.
"He said it was based on himself and not any pressure from anybody else," Van Horn said of the conversation.
Van Horn admitted he had read articles that said Kittles would be pressured to come back if the Nets continued to struggle and he may have made a bad assumption when he heard Kittles would be returning.
Kittles has averaged 15.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists in his career.
©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed