Nets Get Huge Update on Star’s Injury Status Ahead of Training Camp

James Harden, Kyrie Irving

Getty James Harden and Kyrie Irving at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

After an offseason filled with a multitude of uncertainty, the Brooklyn Nets will finally debut their All-Star trio of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons. For those who may be tardy to the party, the Nets acquired Simmons at last year’s deadline in the blockbuster trade that sent James Harden to Philadelphia. However, a back injury prevented Simmons from making his debut and ultimately required off-season surgery.

Simmons was not the only star who missed an extended period for the Nets last season. Sharpshooter Joe Harris has been out since last November with a lingering ankle injury. That injury ultimately required Harris to have two surgeries over the course of last season.

Per Brian Lewis of the New York Post, Harris’ agent, Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports, says that Harris’ health is at “100%” as he prepares to enter training camp this month.

“He’s doing great. He’s great. He’s 100 percent. He’s in a great place,” Bartelstein told the New York Post. “He’s healthy. He’s in a great place. He’s ready to go for sure.”

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Nets Missed Harris in His Absence

Many Nets fans are still on the fence about how to feel about Harris’ place on the roster. The last time most fans got a chance to see him at length was during the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals when they lost to the eventual NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks. Per Stat Muse, Harris averaged 9.6 points per game in that series while shooting a frigid 32.7% from beyond the arc.

But despite being one of the Nets’ biggest weaknesses in that playoff series, Lewis notes just how much Brooklyn missed Harris in his absence.

“Harris’ floor spacing was missed, the Nets’ effective field-goal percentage of .563 in the 423 minutes he played dipping to .537 with him off the court. They also missed his 6-foot-6, 220-pound size on the wing, the Nets eventually getting swept out of the playoffs in the first round by the eventual NBA finalists, the Boston Celtics,” Lewis writes.

“The longest-tenured Net, Harris led the NBA in 3-point shooting in 2019 at 47.4 percent, again two years later at 47.5, and his 46.6 would’ve won yet another crown last season if he’d had enough appearances to qualify.”

Joe Harris, Ben Simmons Have Had Long Injury Layoffs

Harris has not played an NBA game since November 12 after suffering an ankle injury that required him to have surgery earlier in the season and during the offseason.

He and the Nets decided that the in-season surgery was the best option so he could return to the court later in the year instead of having to deal with flare-ups. But that is the opposite of what happened. Harris suffered multiple setbacks in his recovery and eventually had to get a second surgery that ended his season.

He and Ben Simmons combined have missed 19 months of basketball. It’s not ideal for two players who will be keys in the Nets rotation. But that is the reality the Nets are facing with two of their vital stars. With the season drawing nearer, it will be interesting to see how far they can go with a full, healthy roster.

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