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Caris LeVert carried off court on stretcher in Nets’ loss to Timberwolves

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Final: 120-113.

Brooklyn Nets v Denver Nuggets Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Nets and Timberwolves played a basketball game on Monday night, but none of it mattered after an absolutely heartbreaking —and devastating— injury to Caris LeVert.

With 3.7 seconds left in the first half, LeVert contested a fast break and came down on his leg awkwardly. It looked as if his bone bent the wrong way. It is hard to watch.

The arena went dead silent, Nets’ players were in tears and Timberwolves players were in a circle praying for the 24-year-old rising star who was stretchered off the court with a towel covering his face.

When play resumed, you could see LeVert’s best friend on the team, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, in tears.

In a shortened post-game media availability, Kenny Atkinson offered his thoughts...

“Tough blow. He’s the heart and soul of our program.. I feel for him. He’s had a fantastic start of the season.. I just know Caris, if anybody is coming back from this, knowing the human, the character, the person, the player, he’ll come back from this.”

His teammates expressed their emotions as well...

Joe Harris: “Guys were crying coming into the locker room. It was really that horrific just to see the circumstances of everything and just the type of person that Caris is and what he’s been for our team. You’re heartbroken and you’re just overwhelmed with emotion to be honest.”

Rodions Kurucs: “Man, it was so hard to watch this happening in person, I don’t have words man, you will come back stronger...”

The 24-year-old was emerging as the franchise’s cornerstone piece, breaking out this year averaging 19 points, four rebounds and four assists per game. He had overcome three foot surgeries at Michigan before he was drafted by the Nets.

Anybody who knows Caris LeVert will tell you: He’s a very good basketball player, but an even better kid. All you can do is hope for the best for HIS future.

He was taken to a Minneapolis trauma center three minutes away from the Target Center for further evaluation.

As for the Nets? The Nets had a hard time finding a rhythm on either side of the ball. At first, it looked like they were going through the motions after watching the gruesome injury, but it was still wire-to-wire until the final minutes of the game.

Minnesota asserted control and took an 11-point lead with under four minutes remaining.

In the end, the Nets had no fight left in them and lost, 120-113.

D’Angelo Russell nailed a career-high tying nine three-pointers and led the Nets with 31 points and six assists. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson chipped in 14 points and six rebounds, while Ed Davis came off the bench and grabbed 14 rebounds (eight offensive).

For Minnesota, Karl-Anthony Towns led the way with 25 points and 20 rebounds, but turned the ball over 10 times.

The Wolves committed 23 turnovers but shot the ball 53 percent on the night.

Following a three-game win streak that trickled into the four-game road-trip, Brooklyn had the perfect opportunity to head back home on a high note with a victory against the lowly 5-9 Minnesota Timberwolves, who just traded superstar Jimmy Butler.

None of it matters. The focus is on Caris.

PLAYING WITHOUT BIG JAY

Jarrett Allen missed his first game of the season due to an unspecified illness. In his place, the Nets went super small and started the 6’7” Rondae Hollis-Jefferson at the small forward, ending Brooklyn’s 13 consecutive games with the same starting lineup. He was the tallest player in Brooklyn’s lineup while they went up against the 7’0” Karl-Anthony Towns.

Allen entered Monday averaging 11 points, eight rebounds and two blocks per game.

WAS DLO BROUGHT UP IN A BUTLER TRADE? COACH SAYS NO...

Reports surfaced following a piece from The Athletic which stated the Nets “dangled” D’Angelo Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in a trade proposal for Jimmy Butler. Greg Logan of Newsday asked head coach Kenny Atkinson about the report and he denied it.

“I hadn’t heard that..I don’t think that’s true,” said Atkinson.

Either way, it’s all moot. Jimmy Butler is a Philadelphia 76er while Russell and RHJ remain Brooklyn Nets. This comes a day after Russell said it’s a “Privilege” to wear a Brooklyn Nets jersey.

DINWIDDIE’S KICKS, GAME 14: TRIBUTE TO PRINCE

When you go to Minnesota you automatically think of Prince. The iconic artist from the Land of 10,000 Lakes passed away last April. Dinwiddie honored him as will the Timberwolves with their new city edition jerseys.

YES? YES!

***

These guys are like family, win or lose, and it showed after the injury. Nobody ever wants to see anybody get hurt, but LeVert worked his tail off to get to where he’s at. Life just isn’t fair sometimes.

There are simply no words. Or too many. But they cannot express what happened tonight.

For a different perspective, head on over to Canis Hoopus, our sister site on SB Nation.

The Nets will come home to face the Miami Heat on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.