The Nets are catching too many breaks, and not the good kind. Starting Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams and center Brook Lopez have officially been ruled out once again as they each nurse sprained ankles, while backup small forward Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms) and backup shooting guard Jason Terry (bruised knee) will both sit out Friday night’s contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
It has been a cruel stretch of bad luck for Williams; after having numerous problems with both ankles throughout his two-year tenure with the Nets, he appeared to turn a corner in February after receiving cortisone shots and platelet-rich plasma therapy to soothe his ankle synovitis, playing like an elite-level point guard in the last three months of the season. But while working out as his Utah home in the offseason, Williams suffered a right ankle sprain, causing him to sit out training camp and all of one preseason game.
Then, in a cruel twist, Williams landed awkwardly on his left ankle against the Phoenix Suns last Friday when jumping up for a rebound, resulting in another sprain. Then, after Williams waited a few days, participated in a full practice plus bonus shooting drills, and told reporters he’d be ready to go with no restrictions, Williams landed awkwardly on Kemba Walker’s foot in Wednesday’s game against the Charlotte Bobcats, re-spraining the left ankle.
Lopez injured his ankle landing awkwardly in the fourth quarter of the Suns game and has not played since. He has no clear timetable for return. Kirilenko, who last played for the Timberwolves before signing a two-year contract with the Nets this past offseason, hurt his back in preseason and shuffled in and out of playing ever since, calling these spasms the worst of his career. It’s not entirely clear when Terry bruised his knee, but the injury was listed on Wednesday’s Nets injury report.
Shaun Livingston will start in Williams’s place for the third time this season. The Nets have started both Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans in Lopez’s place, and Mason Plumlee is also available at center.