The Brooklyn Nets are counting their blessings after learning that Caris LeVert’s injury is not as bad as it appeared to be.
An awkward landing, a shriek, and a silence consuming the Target Center. That was the chain of events that took place on Monday night in Minneapolis. Caris LeVert suffered a gruesome injury that brought back memories of Gordon Hayward, Paul George, and Shaun Livingston. The Brooklyn Nets were beginning to pick up steam and LeVert was the “heart and soul” of the team as head coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters.
But on Tuesday, Brooklyn received the best possible news. LeVert’s injury was not nearly as bad as it appeared and he could return sometime this season.
No surgery for LeVert and he is expected to make a return this season. LeVert flew home with the Nets from Minneapolis last night, went to hospital in New York and ran tests that showed no fractures and moderate ligament damage. https://t.co/1XdHuAxZN8
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 13, 2018
This is completely unexpected. The season appeared to be in jeopardy after the first half against Minnesota. In fact, the Nets came out flat in the second half and it became clear that the injury took the life out of the team. The fear was that the Nets would continue to struggle without their star.
But the Nets continue to do their best impression of the Coney Island Cyclone. On Friday, LeVert’s game-winner against the Denver Nuggets represented the high point of the season. On Monday, LeVert’s injury represented an unmistakable low point for Atkinson’s squad. This latest news is yet another twist and turn on the Brooklyn rollercoaster.
It’s still unclear how long LeVert will be out. No one player can step up and fill LeVert’s shoes. They’ll need increased contributions across the board. D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie will need to take on more assertive roles late in games. Allen Crabbe could join the starting lineup in place of LeVert. Shabazz Napier will have a more consistent role on the court with the absence of LeVert.
The Nets backcourt will need to pick up the slack across the board to make up for the loss of LeVert. But if Brooklyn can manage to stay afloat without their rising star, a playoff spot is still within reach for the upstart Nets.