It has been an up-and-down, one-step-forward one-step-back kind of a season for the Brooklyn Nets. Their next 4-6 weeks might go down, back, and off to the side as resident MVP candidate Kevin Durant will be sidelined for that span. The Nets today announced the results of an MRI, which showed that Durant had suffered a sprained MCL. His 4-6 week return timeline was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Midway through the second quarter of the Nets’ 120-105 victory against the New Orleans Pelicans, Herbert Jones had the ball on a fast break when he lowered his shoulder into opposing defender Bruce Brown. When Jones made contact, Brown lost his balance and rolled into Durant’s leg. Brown has taken some criticism on social media for injuring his teammate. Some people believe that Brown flopped unnecessarily, especially since he was called for a defensive foul.
Judge for yourself, but it looks like the referee missed the call. It’s hard for me to believe that Brown flopped because he wasn’t even in position to take a charge. Brown was trying to play defense when Jones came barreling down the court and put his shoulder right into Brown’s chest. Jones’ arm even leaves his body after he makes contact. ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote in his Friday column that Jones’ “ludicrous arms appear everywhere at once.” Yes, Jones has arms the length of a superhero cape, but that doesn’t mean he should be allowed to use them like he’s Derrick Henry.
The foul being called against Jones instead of Brown of course would be no even exchange for arguably the best player in the NBA likely losing a month and a half of the season, but at least it’s something. It’s a turnover for the Pelicans, and a foul against one of their starters in a game the Nets were going to win anyway, but justice would’ve been served. Instead, poor Bruce Brown got stuck with a defensive foul because the referees didn’t recognize a basketball player making a non-basketball play, and he also received a heaping pile of social media slander.
Not only does this mean NBA fans are going to miss Durant in the All-Star Game next month, but it could harm the Nets in the standings. The Nets haven’t won consecutive games since Dec. 25 and 27. Even though they demolished the first-place Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, they rested Durant the next day and lost to the Thunder. The Nets finished the week a typical 2-2, and are still a half game out of first place in the East, and the Miami Heat are a half game behind them in third place.
In an unusual twist of fate, the Nets are going to benefit from the fact that 11 of their next 14 games are on the road. That means as long as Kyrie Irving is healthy, he will be able to take the court in the majority of their upcoming games while Durant is out — this might also be a time to start paying those fines and get Irving on the court full time.
The Nets have their work cut out for them, but as long as they stay out of the play-in rounds they’ll have a shot at a championship with Durant, and his league-leading 29.2 points per game, due back after the all-star break. So, folks, lay off of Bruce Brown. He’s a try-hard NBA player who is capable of spectacular dunks. Those players are usually fan favorites, and he wasn’t even trying that hard when he rolled into Durant.
I’m sure Brown feels bad, and as funny as many of the tweets are, let’s cut the poor guy a break.