Just when the Brooklyn Nets were finally back to full health, they were dealt another cruel blow.
Brooklyn starting guard Spencer Dinwiddie suffered a partial tear to his right ACL during the Nets’ 106-104 loss to the Charlotte Hornets, the team announced on Monday. Dinwiddie picked up the injury during the second half of Sunday’s game, when he made a peculiar-looking plant with his right leg on a drive to the basket.
After being evaluated on the sidelines, the 27-year-old was taken to the locker room and ruled out for the rest of the game with a knee sprain that turned out to be a ligament tear after more tests were done on Monday morning. While Dinwiddie is expected to miss a big chunk of the season, the way he handles his rehabilitation process will determine whether or not he makes it back before season’s end, sources told ESPN.
That could be encouraging news considering Dinwiddie has been here before: he tore his left ACL during his junior year at Colorado and reportedly used the services of therapist Russ Paine to work through that injury—you know, the same guy who helped NFL legend Adrian Peterson return less than nine months after his ACL tear to rush for 2,000 yards and earn NFL MVP honors. The therapist’s got to get a little bit of credit for that right?
With Kyrie Irving, Caris LeVert, and Kevin Durant all missing large chunks of last season (the entire campaign in Durant’s case), Dinwiddie emerged as someone the team could count on night in and night out to lead Brooklyn’s stable of talented youngsters both in word and action. Dinwiddie put up impressive numbers as he led the Nets to a berth in the NBA’s bubble in Orlando this past summer, averaging 21.3 points, 7.3 assists, and 3.8 rebounds in 49 starts before the league’s hiatus began in March.
Thanks surely in large part to the veteran’s coming out party last season, as well as his playmaking prowess, Dinwiddie stayed in the starting lineup to begin this new season, sending LeVert to the bench. Dinwiddie averaged 6.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.0 dimes in 21.3 minutes per game while starting Brooklyn’s first three games before his injury on Sunday.
With Dinwiddie out for the foreseeable future—and possibly the remainder of the season, depending on how his rehab goes—the Nets will probably need to pick someone up to replace his passing ability. Irving is no slouch in that department, but burdening him with that will take away from the parts of his game that are most important to the team’s success.
The Eastern Conference seems like it could be up for grabs after this major injury for the Nets and a suspect start for the new-look Milwaukee Bucks (the two top favorites) so a flyer future wager on the Boston Celtics (+650 odds on 888sport) or the Miami Heat (+650) right now could prove fruitful.
Until the Nets acquire the necessary scoring playmaker they need to replace Dinwiddie’s role in the offense, it seems safe to assume that the 26-year-old LeVert will return to the starting lineup to fill the void. LeVert doesn’t bring any less to the table for Brooklyn than Dinwiddie did, but he certainly brings something different.