Nets Star Suffers Brutal Injury in Loss to Pistons

The Nets' Kyrie Irving (left) and Ben Simmons of the Sixers

Getty The Nets' Kyrie Irving (left) and Ben Simmons of the Sixers

The Brooklyn Nets dropped the second game in as many days on January 26 as they fell 122-130 to a Detroit Pistons team many people expect to be in the draft lottery. And to add injury to insult, the Nets suffered yet another injury to one of their All-Stars after their starting forward Ben Simmons exited the game with left knee soreness with 6:40 remaining in the third quarter. He did not return.

Simmons’ injury comes amid the Nets awaiting the return of their All-Star forward Kevin Durant, who has been out since January 8 with an MCL sprain. But despite the Nets roster becoming scarce, head coach Jacque Vaughn won’t allow his team to use that as an excuse for losing.

“The expectations, what we always talk about, was to win this basketball game,” Vaughn said after the loss via the New York Post. “The people who suited up, the people who played, the people who stepped on the floor had an opportunity to impact that basketball game for their teammates.”

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Kyrie Sounds off on Ben Simmons’ Progression

Before Simmons’ injury, he had struggled in his progression. He hasn’t taken more than seven shots in a game since January 17. His lack of aggressiveness had earned him a spot on the bench late in games in head coach Jacque Vaughn’s rotation. After the loss to the 76ers on January 25, Nets star Kyrie Irving sounded off on Simmons’ progression with the Nets.

“That’s what we do every single day. We don’t want to duck anything when it comes to us building camaraderie. When I say duck, it just means sometimes confrontation’s good, meaning what happens in the locker room or happens out on the court. Sometimes you guys see it, sometimes you don’t. Encouragement could look many different ways. We just want to continue to hammer home that our best team effort is when we’re all playing well and staying aggressive and just taking shots that the defense is giving us,” Irving said via Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News.

“So simple ingredients for this basketball game, don’t want to complicate it, but in terms of Ben, we just want him to continue to be aggressive and when he figures it out, he figures it out. When it clicks for him, it’s gonna click, and we’re gonna look even better. I’m seeing flashes, I think we’re all seeing flashes. We just want him to keep it up, keep up the good work.”

Kyrie Irving’s Agent Gets Candid on Looming Free Agency

Irving has put together an impressive campaign this season, averaging 27.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.2 assists. He is also putting up those numbers at an extremely efficient clip shooting 48.8% from the field, 37.6% from beyond the arc, and 90.1% from the free throw line. His numbers were good enough to get him the nod as a starter on the NBA East All-Star team.

But despite Irving’s impressive season, questions still surround his NBA future because he will be an unrestricted free agent this July. After the season Brooklyn has put together, it would behoove the Nets to keep their All-Star duo of Kyrie and Kevin Durant together past this season. But Irving’s agent and stepmother, Shetelia Riley-Irving, says the next move is on the Nets’ front office.

“Around Kyrie and staying with the Nets? I have reached out to the Nets regarding this,” his agent told Chris B. Haynes of Bleacher Report. “We have had no significant conversations to date. The desire is to make Brooklyn home, with the right type of extension, which means the ball is in the Nets’ court to communicate now if their desire is the same.”

It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Irving and the Nets.

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