There isn’t much to be said after you witness your 24-year-old teammate endure what looked like one of the ugliest injuries in years.
You put in so much time, so much work together to accomplish something together – as a team. And in Brooklyn, everybody is family, and that everybody feels each triumph and each devastation.
Spencer Dinwiddie has been by Caris LeVert’s side since his rookie season. The two have become the poster-boys for development in Brooklyn. Both epitomize the hard-working culture Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson are building.
“It was hard. It was really hard. Obviously having dealt with injuries myself, I was just hurting for him,” Dinwiddie told NetsDaily, alluding to his ACL tear during his junior year in college. “It’s only the start of the season, we all knew all the hard work he put in the off-season, and the fact that he had previous injuries in college. It seemed like he was turning the corner and obviously will still turn the corner. It was just a freak accident and fortunately he’s OK. It’s just a genuine hurt for your brother.”
The worst was expected as everybody awaited the diagnosis on Caris LeVert’s right ankle injury. There was no word overnight. Players tweeted out their well wishes, Nets fans prepared a card to send. It felt like doomsday for so many different reasons.
LeVert went to a trauma center no more than three minutes away from Target Center. At that point, coaches and players hadn’t seen or spoken to LeVert. But when they saw him on the plane, there was suddenly a ray of optimism within the club.
“We sort of found out on the plane last night because he flew back with us and because of that, we knew it wasn’t a compound fracture or a break or anything like that. So we were pretty optimistic,” Dinwiddie explained. “We knew they were going to do further testing just to double confirm. We just didn’t want to say anything until they double checked.”
The Nets notified the public a little after noon that LeVert had been diagnosed with a subtalar dislocation of the right foot. No fracture, just moderate ligament damage. There was no immediate timetable, but the Nets expect him to make a full recovery with no restrictions later this season.
Everybody was relieved, as Dinwiddie explains how the two texted after the game and then Caris spoke to his teammates on the plane.
“He’s in good spirits. He said obviously it hurt, but he was just happy there’s nothing seriously wrong. I mean, we all were.”
It was a night filled with emotions and uncertainty. And while there is a sense of relief, the Nets are going to be without one of their top players for an unknown amount of time. Dinwiddie’s been here before. He knows he’ll be called upon just like last year when he was the third point guard in the rotation behind Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell.
So this isn’t his first rodeo. “Next man up,” he says.
But he knows this is all bittersweet. They’re glad that it isn’t more serious, but it ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. The Nets will all need to step up as LeVert rehabs. Let’s see if the Nets are still in the playoff race by then for Caris to give them a lift.
“Knowing [Caris], he’ll be back better than ever.”
- ‘It felt like hope’: The moment the Nets knew Caris LeVert was going to be OK - Michael Scotto - The Athletic New York