Injury bug returns as Nets face possibility of playing without three key players

Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) drives for the basket between Brooklyn Nets forward Bruce Brown (1) and guard Seth Curry (30) in the first quarter at Fiserv Forum.
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Anyone that follows the sport of hockey knows that its fans love to blame injuries and bad luck on the hockey gods. If the same applied to basketball, Nets fans would be cursing the all-powerful basketball gods after the year the organization has had.

Even in the final week of the season, the Nets weren’t able to shake the injury bug that has followed them all year long. Brooklyn was without Goran Dragic (health and safety protocol), Bruce Brown (non-COVID illness) and sharpshooter Seth Curry (left ankle soreness) on Saturday in their loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

[READ: Nets latest losses raising concerns as play-in tournament looms]

The scenario was one that Brooklyn has known all too well this season, especially COVID. The Nets had 13 different players out this year because of the virus, with 10 players out at the same time in December.

“Well, it’s something we’ve had a lot of experience doing, so we will accept the challenge and find other guys to step up and play and carry some of the load,” Nash told reporters in Atlanta. “We’ve been here before, so we hope we get all our guys back sooner rather than later. But at the same time, you know, we think we can find a way to win the game regardless.”

The timing couldn’t be worse for the Nets who are in a desperate fight for seeding with their trip to the play-in round ensured. Brooklyn has four games left in the regular season starting on Tuesday when they play back-to-back nights, first hosting the Houston Rockets and then traveling across the Brooklyn Bridge to face the New York Knicks.

Dragic had been feeling symptoms of COVID and hadn’t been feeling well, according to Nash, but Brown hasn’t been ruled out of Tuesday’s game by the Nets head coach.

“I hope not. I think some of these things are 24 hours to 72 hours. Hopefully, we’re in that time frame and he can play on Tuesday,” Nash said.

The biggest concern would be not having Curry on the floor for any extended period of time. Curry has been dealing with a nagging ankle injury and the team has been trying to be cautious with the three-point specialist.

It looked as though he was going to play, but was ruled out of the game on Saturday at the last minute. Curry had been averaging 15.1 points since arriving in Brooklyn and shooting 49% from the field and 47.7% from beyond the arc.