Nets Notebook: Jason Kidd dealing with rash of injuries

Brook Lopez
Brook Lopez missed a matchup with his brother Robin and Portland on Monday night.
Credit: Getty Images

If Jason Kidd was concerned about the potential of lengthy injuries for Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Andrei Kirilenko the Nets head coach was showing his poker face before Monday’s game.

Three weeks into his first season, Kidd is dealing with his first rash of injuries as an NBA head coach and fielding frequent questions about them.

He did so again Monday night before his seventh game on the sidelines as Williams sat out for the second straight game with a sprained left ankle, after spending most of preseason dealing with an injured right ankle.

“You got to go with the guys that can suit up and that’s the approach, that’s all I can be concerned about,” Kidd said. “Our health in time will get better so with Brook and D-Will and A.K. hopefully they recover. They’re younger so we’ll see how that plays out.”

Williams injured the ankle in the early minutes of Friday’s overtime win at Phoenix and has not scored more than 17 points this season.

Lopez, who has had three foot surgeries, sat out Saturday with a sprained left ankle. He played Friday despite tweaking the ankle during the fourth quarter Friday.

Kirilenko has been dealing with back issues since late in the preseason and missed his fifth straight game, making it 10 days since he last played during a four-point overtime loss at Washington.

While the Nets had to cope without three key cogs, they did get some good news as Kevin Garnett (sprained right ankle) and Paul Pierce (sore left groin) returned Monday after sitting out Saturday.

The Nets also threw out a different starting frontcourt look as Kidd started Reggie Evans in the middle as opposed to Andray Blatche. Blatche had his best game of the season Saturday night by scoring 19 points in 34 minutes but Kidd pointed out he would come in as the first substitute for Garnett.

“Reggie is one of our backup centers so that’s why I decided to go with him,” Kidd said. “When you look at the rotation with K.G. back, Blatche gets into the game pretty early so that’s why.”

Oakland connection at point guard

Gary Payton and Kidd are regarded as probably the best two point guards Oakland, Calif. has produced, but in a little over a year in the NBA, Damian Lillard is climbing that list.

Lillard was Portland’s first-round pick in 2012, the same pick that the Nets gave up when they acquired Gerald Wallace.

Last year he was the fourth unanimous Rookie of the Year, winning the award after averaging 19 points and 6.5 assists while appearing in every game.

So far, he is averaging 20 points and 5.8 assists in 2013 after scoring 25 points Sunday in Toronto.

“He’s a young kid that has picked up the NBA game quite quickly,” Kidd said. “You talk about the young point guards in this league, he’s right up there at the top of what he’s done. He’s a special kid. He works extremely hard at his game and you can see that but he’s running his team and he’s kind of in a good situation with offense penetrating and finding open guys but also he can put the ball in the basket.

“So I’m happy anytime there’s a kid from our hometown that does well, but I hope he doesn’t do well tonight.”

Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.


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