EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -Jason Kidd was back in the starting lineup for the New Jersey Nets on Friday against the Houston Rockets, two nights after missing a game because of a migraine.
Not everyone bought that excuse, sparking some reports that the eight-time All-Star was staging a personal one-day strike to induce a trade or force a new contract.
But coach Lawrence Frank said the Nets never doubted Kidd's story.
``We're ready to go,'' Frank said before the game. ``You guys have a job to do. For us, it was never really a big issue. It was more dealing with media reports. It really hasn't affected the team because they know he was sick.''
The game Wednesday was the first Kidd missed this season. Without him, the Nets lost 100-93 to the New York Knicks.
Kidd attended the morning shootaround but did not talk to the media. On Thursday, he said the migraine prevented him from playing.
``I didn't miss a game due to unhappiness, that's the first thing to clear up,'' he said, adding he was hit in the mouth Tuesday night in a game against Cleveland, and he later developed a migraine.
That was good enough for Frank.
``The guy was sick. I talk to him every day,'' Frank said. ``He's focused. No one competes harder or prepares better than Jason.
``I've never had a guy who was sick have to justify it to the team. We deal with issues every single day. A guy being sick is not one of them.
Kidd said he never asked to be traded, noting his only disappointment was with the inconsistent play of the Nets (9-10).
Kidd is under contract through the end of next season, making $19.7 million this year and $21.3 million next. He and Nets president Rod Thorn refused to discuss any current contract talks.
The 13-year veteran is currently second in the league to Steve Nash, averaging 10.4 assists. He is averaging 11.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.67 steals.

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