The excitement in Lionel Hollins' voice was easily detectable, a sign of the healthy progress of his two key cogs.

Deron Williams and Brook Lopez are coming off surgery, both apparently on track to be ready when training camp begins next month, and Hollins couldn't be more pleased. Lopez revealed earlier this week that he's received full clearance to play, and with Williams also rapidly on the mend, the Nets coach understands what that means both short- and long-term for the duo.

"Well, that's what the whole goal is," Hollins told Newsday in a phone interview Wednesday from Africa, where he's spending the week participating in the NBA's Basketball Without Borders program. "You can't be where you want to be unless you're healthy, and you can't get in shape unless you're healthy. If you are injured all summer, there's no way you can work out.

"Deron is healthy, Brook is healthy and they are both able to work out."

So conditioning is something they both will be able to work on as they move forward, and when you are in shape you can go out, and try things, and do things because naturally if you are successful, your confidence rises. That's the only way I look at it and that's my approach."

Williams battled ankle injuries from the first day of training camp a year ago to season's end. He had surgery in May to remove bone spurs from his left ankle and had a loose bone fragment removed from his right ankle. He admitted the nagging injuries robbed him of his confidence, and Nets teammate Andrei Kirilenko believes Williams can return to the elite form he displayed when they played together in Utah.