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Nets talk Cleanthony Early: Be careful out there

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Cleanthony Early, the Knicks second year player, will be out a couple of months after an organized criminal gang ambushed him and his girlfriend on a Queens street early Wednesday morning, shooting him in the knee while robbing him of jewelry and even the gold caps on his teeth. Early, 23 and a New York native, had just left a Queens strip club when as many as six assailants in three cars surrounded his Uber car.

Luckily, there's no structural damage to the knee and the bullet passed through his knee, meaning he won't need surgery to remove it.

The incident is the talk of the NBA and Nets veterans spoke in Orlando about the special dangers of being young and rich --and vulnerable-- in the city. They also spoke about the public perceptions.

"A lot of people want to say, ‘It’s his fault; he shouldn’t have been [there]," Jarrett Jack told beat writers. "How is it his fault he got [robbed and shot]? You know what I mean? Could he have done some things better? Yeah. But don’t make it look like that was supposed to happen to him because he was outside at a certain point in time of the night. I don’t like the way people put that together at all."

Joe Johnson said it's mainly about being wary. "The only thing you can do at this point is pray for him. Hopefully he bounces back. It’s a tough spot. … It’s a tough topic to even talk about, because I’m sure that’s what he was just trying to do, enjoy himself. I’m sure he never expected nothing like this to happen. But as you see, it’s capable of happening, so you have to really be careful."

Police continue to seek information on the assault. It was the second incident involving the Knicks in the last 10 days. Derrick Williams was robbed of an estimated $750,000 in jewelry by two women he invited into his Manhattan home.