The nets have been through without Kyrie Irving most of the season, and they'll have to think again about how to do it.
Irving will miss a sprain in the mid-ligament for at least a week and could easily lose more time. This means that all-star junkie Spencer Dinwiddie has to be one step ahead, while Garrett Temple and Caris LeVert close the gap.
"I always say that, we're paying 17 people on the list," said coach Kenny Atkinson. "A man goes down, that's our job. You have to get up. You have to go up to the level of the player you are replacing or better.
"That is our goal. We want to get there. … We have enough talent and good boys and good players. Boys have to move up."
You're probably not at Irving's level, but Dinwiddie can be close. He averaged 21.5 points and 6.5 assists, and in 33 starts this season he increased those numbers to 23.0 and 7.1, filling Irving's shoes.
"I don't know the diagnosis, I don't know if he's not there or how long he's been away or something," Dinwiddie had said before the MRI results were revealed. "We'll play it by ear, and whatever my role is, I'm trying to do that."
While the Nets 13-15 are in games that Irving missed, they have lost their last two without him and nine of their last 10. It supplants the narrative that they are better without him.
"I think a lot of NBA teams go through that. We can't use that as an excuse, "said Atkinson." Of course we're a much better team with him. [But] As I said, we've gone through this before.
"I think boys will get up. Now guys will have an opportunity. Obviously there will be some wing minutes and some point guard minutes. The boys have to refill. Don't just play filling minutes, but to a certain extent we need to stay afloat. "
The networks said Sunday that Irving will be reassessed in a week. Phoenix and Golden State take place there during the week, they play in Toronto on Saturday and in Indiana next Monday. In the last game before the All-Star break, the networks meet the Raptors on February 12th.
Temple had 17 points and five rebounds on Saturday, reaching a team high of 36:30. He may have to run a few more marathons before Irving returns. Expect LeVert's minutes to go up, too.
“We have to try to regroup. We have been in this situation before, ”said Temple. "Try to regroup. [Irving] could walk and stuff, so hopefully it's not that bad. "