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Will Krstic's Injuries Hurt Him in the Wallet?

Nenad Krstic admits he is injury prone.

"In my career, every injury I've had - I had a broken hand like three or four times - every injury helped me to develop something else in my game," he said after he tore his ACL.

He has also suffered a broken foot...twice, torn ligaments in his thumb and after tearing the ACL in his left knee, a knee sprain this summer, setting back his rehab by more than a month.

It's something the Nets knew when they picked him. As Bob Considine, then a beat writer for Gannett, wrote the day he was signed in 2005: "Perhaps the biggest concern for the Nets is Krstic's susceptibility to injury."

Now, it's something that could effect not just their 2007-08 season, as he tries to get back in basketball shape, but their offer to him next June when he becomes a restricted free agent. Injury free, he could command a contract of more than $50 million. But he hasn't been injury-free. It's a concern he admits to, as well.

Most of his injuries, like the "three or four times" he has broken his hand, have come in Serbia. Here's a list, based on internet reports:

--suffered a "triple stress facture", as he describes it, during the FIBA European championships in June 2003, an injury he says was misdiagnosed. "Not even one of our doctors could diagnose what it was," he told the Kurir, a Belgrade newspaper two summers ago. "After few days Greek doctors told me that I could have ended my career because of that injury if I had had to wait a bit longer for another diagnosis."

--suffered a broken bone in his right foot November 8, 2003. He missed two months of Euroleague and Serbian league play.

--broke his left wrist in a game on May 18, 2004, missing five weeks of Euroleague and Serbia league play, apparently one of the "broken hand" injuries he referred to.

--tore ligaments in his right thumb playing with the Nets in March 2005, then toughed it out the remainder of the season with his thumb heavily taped. The ligament had separated from the bone. On May 3, 2005 he underwent surgery to repair the ligament, forcing him wear a cast for five weeks.

--tore the anterior cruciate of his left knee on December 22. On January 10, 2007, he underwent surgery to repair it. While rehabbing, he suffered a sprain in the same knee. He was advised to slow down, spending five weeks back home in Serbia.

The worst was the torn ACL because he knew it almost certainly would affect his contract.

"The first couple days, I was worried not financially but more about if I'd ever be 100 percent," Krstic said during a break in his youth basketball camp this summer. "Worried about injury, not really contract. My goal is to come back, and when I come back everything is going to come. I'm not worried about (money). If I worry about that, it's going to mess my head."

The Nets initially said his problems this season were the result of his not being in basketball shape, and that, they said, was the result of his knee sprain, not the surgery. The knee, they continue to note, is structurally sound. And there was never any doubt he would work hard to rehab. Now everyone admits that residual soreness and pain should be expected even this long after surgery. So the team has had him work individually on his strength.

No one is saying what could happen with Krstic's contract. He himself told Blic, a Serbian magazine, this summer he was prepared to take less money from the Nets. " Winning is more important together with great teammates," Blic quoted him as saying.

But recently, while saying he was "lost" and "confused", he expressed some frustration in the way he is being handled, particularly after a November 17 loss to Orlando, one in which he played only 4:43 and wasn't inserted til the end of the second.

"That was coach's decision, but it's not really good for my knee right now," said Krstic, who again was not in the starting lineup last night. "It's like go out there for first quarter and I play last four minutes [of the second] and I was not really loose. I was not feeling good at all.

"I was on the bike and it was not really good. In the game I wasn't loose and all, and then I got in and I needed a couple minutes just to get loose," he said, admitting his wind and quickness are far from what they need to be.

Nenad Krstic admits he is injury prone.

"In my career, every injury I've had - I had a broken hand like three or four times - every injury helped me to develop something else in my game," he said after he tore his ACL.

He has also suffered a broken foot...twice, torn ligaments in his thumb and after tearing the ACL in his left knee, a knee sprain this summer, setting back his rehab by more than a month.

It's something the Nets knew when they picked him. As Bob Considine, then a beat writer for Gannett, wrote the day he was signed in 2005: "Perhaps the biggest concern for the Nets is Krstic's susceptibility to injury."

Now, it's something that could effect not just their 2007-08 season, as he tries to get back in basketball shape, but their offer to him next June when he becomes a restricted free agent. Injury free, he could command a contract of more than $50 million. But he hasn't been injury-free. It's a concern he admits to, as well.

Most of his injuries, like the "three or four times" he has broken his hand, have come in Serbia. Here's a list, based on internet reports:

--suffered a "triple stress facture", as he describes it, during the FIBA European championships in June 2003, an injury he says was misdiagnosed. "Not even one of our doctors could diagnose what it was," he told the Kurir, a Belgrade newspaper two summers ago. "After few days Greek doctors told me that I could have ended my career because of that injury if I had had to wait a bit longer for another diagnosis."

--suffered a broken bone in his right foot November 8, 2003. He missed two months of Euroleague and Serbian league play.

--broke his left wrist in a game on May 18, 2004, missing five weeks of Euroleague and Serbia league play, apparently one of the "broken hand" injuries he referred to.

--tore ligaments in his right thumb playing with the Nets in March 2005, then toughed it out the remainder of the season with his thumb heavily taped. The ligament had separated from the bone. On May 3, 2005 he underwent surgery to repair the ligament, forcing him wear a cast for five weeks.

--tore the anterior cruciate of his left knee on December 22. On January 10, 2007, he underwent surgery to repair it. While rehabbing, he suffered a sprain in the same knee. He was advised to slow down, spending five weeks back home in Serbia.

The worst was the torn ACL because he knew it almost certainly would affect his contract.

"The first couple days, I was worried not financially but more about if I'd ever be 100 percent," Krstic said during a break in his youth basketball camp this summer. "Worried about injury, not really contract. My goal is to come back, and when I come back everything is going to come. I'm not worried about (money). If I worry about that, it's going to mess my head."

The Nets initally said his problems this season were the result of his not being in basketball shape, and that, they said, was the result of his knee sprain, not the surgery. The knee, they continue to note, is strucurally sound. And there was never any doubt he would work hard to rehab. Now everyone admits that residual soreness and pain should be expected even this long after surgery. So the team has had him work individually on his strength.

No one is saying what could happen with Krstic's contract. He himself told Blic, a Serbian magazine, this summer he was prepared to take less money from the Nets. " Winning is more important together with great teammates," Blic quoted him as saying.

But recently, while saying he was "lost" and "confused", he expressed some frustration in the way he is being handled, particularly after a November 17 loss to Orlando, one in which he played only 4:43 and wasn't inserted til the end of the second.

"That was coach's decision, but it's not really good for my knee right now," said Krstic, who again was not in the starting lineup last night. "It's like go out there for first quarter and I play last four minutes [of the second] and I was not really loose. I was not feeling good at all.

"I was on the bike and it was not really good. In the game I wasn't loose and all, and then I got in and I needed a couple minutes just to get loose," Krstic said, admitting his wind and quickness are far from what they need to be.

Still, throughout the rehab, Krstic has remained upbeat about what will happen this year...and beyond.

"I think it's going to take some time and I have to be patient, but I can be even better," Krstic said. "When I was playing back home (Serbia) I had a couple of serious injuries and I came back even better. That's part of my nature."