The subplot of the Nets’ season has been injuries and perhaps the biggest of those storylines is the state of Deron Williams and his ankles.
The issue resurfaced Monday when Williams missed the morning shootaround to visit doctors to examine the swelling in his ankle. The trip resulted in an MRI, which revealed a sprained left ankle.
“He called [trainer Tim Walsh] last night and his ankle was swelling up,” head coach Jason Kidd said. “This morning he went to go for an MRI. He wanted to play and we’re on the cautious side of him taking the night off.”
Kidd said Williams did not suffer anything worse than a sprain but also added he had not seen the MRI.
Ankles have dogged Williams in the last two seasons, though he missed only one game last season.
He struggled while playing through swelling in both ankles before the All-Star break. But after getting them treated with cortisone, he was at his peak level in the final two months when he missed one game.
This season began with Williams missing the entire preseason with a sprained right ankle and continued with him missing 11 games with two separate left ankle sprains. The Nets lost eight of those 11 games.
“I think it’s tough, especially that he’s playing at a high level right now,” Kidd said “And then how much the team has gone in a different direction with winning games with his help. So him being hurt, he’s probably more or less frustrated.”
Williams has scored 50 points in his last two games and the Nets have won both. That marks the first time all season he had scored 20 points in consecutive games.
Williams’s replacement at the point has often been Shaun Livingston but in the last two games Livingston has started alongside Williams. Alan Anderson wound up starting for Williams against Atlanta due to Kidd feeling comfortable with him at forward and guard.
Anderson’s presence alongside Williams marked the 16th different starting lineup employed this season by the Nets, who have used 11 different players in their starting five.
During Williams’s first absence, the Nets were outscored by a combined 128 points and those who started for him shot 27-of-82 and scored 85 points.
Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.