A lot has been made about how the absence of Jarvis Hayes and Keyon Dooling – two likeable veteran leaders who also happen to be pretty decent outside shooters – has played a large part in the Nets misfortunes this season.
Some of the good news that came out of practice earlier this week was with Yi set to return tonight, and Hayes and Dooling soon after, the Nets might finally be whole for the first time this season (Chris Doulgas-Roberts returning from his ankle sprain would help this process along as well). However, in today’s practice report from Fred Kerber, some comments made by and about Hayes and Dooling describe their imminent returns as tenuous at best:
“With a hamstring, at this point, if he hurts it again, he could be done,” (Kiki) Vandeweghe said. “So it’s just not worth it. You’ve just got to be safe with it. As much as we need him, you’ve just got to be safe.”
“I had pretty major surgery. It’ll be a process. I’ll be back to normal, probably next year. This year is going to be a struggle for me,” Dooling said. “It was a pretty serious surgery for me.”
I don’t even think this needs much reading between-the-lines. To boil it all down, if Hayes reinjures his hammy, he’s probably done for the year, and Dooling never really going to be healthy this season, so he’s going to be on and off the injured list.
Now, I know these guys are only role players, but I take both of these morsels as pretty dispiriting news items. Please remember that it was Jarvis Hayes who organized the voluntary preseason practice sessions in late August – back in happier days where the Nets weren’t taking veiled shots at each other in the locker room and in the press. And is it any coincidence that Dooling’s short-lived return a few weeks ago occurred just as the Nets won their first two (and only) games of the season?
While the Nets probably have enough talent on their roster to avoid all-time infamy this season, I think it will be a lot easier to move pass 10 wins and end this talk of “worst ever” if these two specific guys can get back on the court and give consistent minutes off the bench. Not only will their three-point shooting provide some more spacing (provided that don’t pull a Bobby Simmons), but these two are the truest definition of “intangible” guys who torture statheads with their lack of numbers, but still make teams better regardless. Here’s to hope that these comments were just of the conservative, expectation-lowering variety.