Brooklyn Nets veteran big man DeAndre Jordan suffered a sprained left ankle on Monday night in the team’s matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans, but by the looks of things, it appears the 31-year-old center won’t be missing too much time.
Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson says Jordan’s injury is “not really that bad,” and the center has been listed as day-to-day, according to Peter Botte of the New York Post.
Brooklyn is currently on an extended three-day break before starting a five-game road trip on Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers. This gives the former All-Star some extra time to recover, but judging by how cautious the Nets are when it comes to injuries, it would not be surprising if Jordan sits out Friday’s matchup and perhaps beyond.
Jordan missing extended time would leave the Nets in somewhat of a conundrum. While starting center Jarrett Allen can hold down the fort just fine, there’s not much depth behind him. 6-foot-11 rookie Nicolas Claxton from Georgia is the only legitimate center left after Allen, and the 31st overall pick has yet to log any NBA minutes for the Nets thus far. That will likely change:
“I think we can go some different ways with that backup position,” Atkinson said after practice Wednesday. “I think Nic Claxton, he’s gonna have to play some, depending on how long DeAndre’s out. I think Nic, he understands what we’re doing. We love his talent. At some point, he’ll get a shot.
“Hopefully, DeAndre’s back in a snap. I err on the side of caution. We need to fill that position. We have, in Nic and Henry [Ellenson], two guys we think can help us.”
To open up a roster spot to add more depth, Brooklyn could waive the services of veteran wing Wilson Chandler, who is currently serving a 25-game suspension for violating the league’s anti-doping policy. The 32-year-old signed a one-year minimum deal with the Nets in the summer.
At this point, however, pulling the trigger on such a drastic move wouldn’t be the most prudent move for Brooklyn. It sure doesn’t seem like Jordan will be missing that much time, so the current group can probably make do. The Nets have actually performed terribly with Jordan on the court this season, so they may not even miss him all that much, though the club certainly still trusts his veteran presence.
Moreover, waiving Chandler might do more harm than good. The 6-foot-8 forward is not expected to play a significant role on the team this season, but his veteran presence is something Brooklyn might need.
The best thing to do for the Nets right now would be to take a cautious, day-by-day approach on their current dilemma. It’s very early in the season, so there’s no reason to go out and do something crazy when it’s not necessary.