Nets’ Paul Pierce to miss 2-4 weeks with non-displaced fracture in right hand
The bad breaks just keep coming for the 5-12 Nets. After losing Deron Williams (ankle), Brook Lopez (ankle), Andrei Kirilenko (back), and Jason Terry (knee) for significant stretches of the season thus far, Brooklyn announced on Monday that Paul Pierce will miss the next 2-4 weeks of game action due to a non-displaced fracture in his right hand. That Kirilenko is still out of the lineup as well puts the Nets’ small forward rotation in complete disarray, with the majority of the minutes at the position likely to be filled by Alan Anderson and Mirza Teletovic — as was the case in the Nets’ first game without Pierce on Saturday.
This continues what has been a rough season for Pierce, who hasn’t taken to playing with his new team well in the slightest. While it was assumed that Pierce would be taking on a smaller role due to Brooklyn’s loaded starting lineup, his expected dip in production has been accompanied by career-worst marks in two-point (42.4 percent) and three-point percentage (26.8 percent) alike, as well as a career-high turnover rate (16.3 percent). A break in his shooting hand, then, doesn’t just rule out Pierce for the next 2-4 weeks, but could make it even more difficult for him to rebound from this dispiriting slump.
In acquiring a trio of aging contributors over the summer in Pierce, Terry, and Kevin Garnett, the Nets subjected themselves to a heightened injury risk this season. Yet the most notable injuries have been suffered by Lopez and Williams, Brooklyn’s two best overall players. Those tentpole stars have already missed 15 games between them, with Williams still sidelined by an ankle injury. Pierce’s absence, then, will only extend the Nets’ inability to put their best players on the floor together. In all, the Nets’ top six players — Williams, Lopez, Pierce, Garnett, Kirilenko, and Joe Johnson — have all been active for just four games this season. Brooklyn has flaws in its execution that go well beyond injury, but it certainly doesn’t help matters that the Nets’ best players can’t stay on the floor long enough to build any kind of forward momentum.