Nic Claxton sits out Sunday’s game; Hopes to be back next week

Nic Claxton of the Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets forward Nic Claxton hangs on the rim after a dunk
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Nets center Nic Claxton won’t play on Sunday in the final game of Brooklyn’s four-game road trip, but he is hoping to be back on the court next week.

Claxton has been dealing with left hamstring soreness that has kept him out of the Nets last six games. The 6-foot-11 big man was listed as questionable for the Nets’ meeting with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he told reporters after morning shootaround that he would not play.

Claxton has not played since the Nets’ loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Jan. 10.

The center dealt with a similar injury to his hamstring last season, which has given Claxton the perspective not to rush back from it because they can be very tricky, Brian Lewis of the New York Post reported. Claxton has 9.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1 assists for the Nets in 20 games this season.

After Sunday, the Nets play their next two games at the Barclays Center. They’ll host the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday and then the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.

Either of those games could be when Claxton returns to the lineup.

Claxton has been fodder for trade speculation as the NBA trade deadline quickly approaches. Last week ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that the Nets had been feeling out the trade market during his podcast.

The report was based on what Windhorst had heard from two different clubs.

“I know this would surprise some people because they’d say ‘This guy is really valuable defensively. He’s very active,’” Windhorst said on his podcast last week. “He’s been out recently with a hamstring injury, but he’s a free agent (this offseason).”

The absence of the 22-year-old has allowed for the emergence of rookie Day’Ron Sharpe, who has taken full advantage of the playing time he’s gotten because of Claxton’s injury. Sharpe has started in all six games that Claxton has missed and he’s averaged 11 points in that span.