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Nenê

Nenê (/nuh-NAY/) (born on September 13, 1982 in São Carlos, Brazil) is a professional basketball player who plays for the NBA's Denver Nuggets. His name at birth was Maybyner Rodney Hilario, but it was legally changed to Nenê in 2003.

He received his nickname Nenê (Portuguese for baby) because he was the youngest in both his family and his group of childhood friends. Like most Brazilian children, he started out playing soccer, and was good enough to receive some interest from professional clubs. He did not play basketball until he was 14.

He first came to international attention at the 2001 Goodwill Games as a member of the Brazilian national team. He also played in the Brazilian club Vasco da Gama. Afterwards, he excelled at the NBA's predraft camp in Chicago in 2002; the New York Knicks picked him seventh overall in the 2002 NBA Draft and immediately traded him to the Denver Nuggets.

He began the 2002-03 season on the bench, but ended it as a starter, averaging 10.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.6 steals, and finishing in the league's top ten in shooting percentage (.519). After the season, he was selected to the NBA All-Rookie first team.

On November 1, 2005, against the San Antonio Spurs, Nenê suffered a serious knee injury on an awkward fall consisting of a torn anterior cruciate ligament, a sprained medial collateral ligament and a torn meniscus in his right knee during Denver's first game of the NBA season. He had played just 3 minutes.

Cancer scare

On January 11, 2008, Nenê released a statement saying that he was taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team to take care of a personal medical issue. On January 14, he had a testicular tumor removed at a Denver hospital. On Thursday January 17, 2008 Nene released a statement on his personal website stating the tumor was benign, he is recovering well, and that more information would be released later in the day.

On January 22, 2008, Denver Nuggets officials said that the tumor is malignant and Nenê is recovering. They also said there was no timetable for his return to active status.

On March 27, 2008, in a 118-105 Nuggets home win over the Dallas Mavericks, Nenê returned to action for the first time since he had surgery to remove the testicular tumor. Nenê entered the game with 1:17 left in the fourth quarter to a standing ovation.

NBA career statistics

Regular season

|- | align="left" | 2002–03 | align="left" | Denver | 80 || 53 || 28.2 || .519 || .000 || .578 || 6.1 || 1.9 || 1.6 || .8 || 10.5 |- | align="left" | 2003–04 | align="left" | Denver | 77 || 77 || 32.5 || .530 || .000 || .682 || 6.5 || 2.2 || 1.5 || .5 || 11.8 |- | align="left" | 2004–05 | align="left" | Denver | 55 || 18 || 23.9 || .503 || .000 || .660 || 5.9 || 1.5 || .9 || .9 || 9.6 |- | align="left" | 2005–06 | align="left" | Denver | 1 || 0 || 3.0 || .000 || .000 || .000 || .0 || .0 || .0 || .0 || .0 |- | align="left" | 2006–07 | align="left" | Denver | 64 || 42 || 26.8 || .570 || .000 || .689 || 7.0 || 1.2 || 1.0 || .9 || 12.2 |- | align="left" | 2007–08 | align="left" | Denver | 16 || 1 || 16.6 || .408 || .000 || .551 || 5.4 || .9 || .6 || .9 || 5.3 |- | align="left" | Career | align="left" | | 293 || 191 || 27.5 || .527 || .000 || .646 || 6.3 || 1.7 || 1.2 || .7 || 10.7 |}

Playoffs

|- | align="left" | 2003–04 | align="left" | Denver | 5 || 5 || 26.4 || .444 || .000 || .538 || 5.0 || 3.0 || 1.0 || .6 || 7.8 |- | align="left" | 2004–05 | align="left" | Denver | 5 || 0 || 20.2 || .429 || .000 || .652 || 5.0 || .4 || .4 || .4 || 6.6 |- | align="left" | 2006–07 | align="left" | Denver | 5 || 5 || 35.8 || .585 || .000 || .778 || 7.8 || 2.4 || .6 || .6 || 15.2 |- | align="left" | 2007–08 | align="left" | Denver | 3 || 0 || 10.0 || .556 || .000 || 1.000 || 2.3 || .3 || .7 || .3 || 4.3 |- | align="left" | Career | align="left" | | 18 || 10 || 24.6 || .513 || .000 || .684 || 5.3 || 1.7 || .7 || .5 || 8.9 |}

References

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