Moke Hamilton, SNYNets.com
NEW YORK — Thus far this season, aside from poor third quarters and porous defensive stretches, health has been the Nets Achilles heel.
Heading into Friday nights battle against the Phoenix Suns, the Nets already knew they would be without both Kris Humphrey (sore left ankle) and Mirza Teletovic (illness).
Whatever Teletovic had, he must have given it to Joe Johnson, because Johnson was questionable with an illness of his own.
Though Johnson managed to play well, his team will now anxiously await formal announcements regarding Williams and Wallace, both of whom sustained injuries on Friday night.
After the game, although Johnson told the media that there was no way he was going to sit, the possibility was very real. "We're in a really good rhythm right now," Johnson said after Friday night's 99-79 victory over the Suns. "Sitting out wasn't even a thought for me, but I know I kinda need some rest."
There's no doubt that injuries have plagued this team this far this season, especially considering that Brook Lopez (seven games), MarShon Brooks (three games) and C.J. Watson (two games) have all missed time due to injuries.
Along with Lopez, Gerald Wallace—who has already missed nine games this season—has been most conspicuous by his absence. Now, he may be sidelined again.
During the first quarter of Friday night's victory over the Suns, Wallace took a nasty spill and landed awkwardly on his right arm and back. In person, the fall was borderline horrifying.
During the game, the Nets announced that Wallace's X-rays were negative but that he bruised his ribs. He was sent home before the game ended, so he didn't address the media before leaving Barclays.
The Nets are off on Saturday, so a more formal announcement regarding Wallace's health is expected by Sunday, when the Nets host the Indiana Pacers.
"It's tough man," Johnson said when asked what it feels like to see Wallace go down with an injury. "During the season, you wish you could have all of your key guys, but this is a part of the game and injuries happen. Other guys need to step up."
As if things couldn't get any worse, Deron Williams took a nasty spill of his own. His was in the third quarter.
On a drive to the basket, Williams took what appeared to be an inadvertent knee to the thigh from Goran Dragic. Afterward, it was announced that he sustained a thigh contusion. Williams remained in the game but was noticeably limited.
Afterward, Williams limped around the locker room and was in obvious pain.
Lopez, joking and in high spirits, yelled out to the hobbled Williams. "What's up old man, Deron?"
Everyone including Williams chuckled, but for Williams, the injury may not be a laughing matter.
"I will see what it feels like when I wake up tomorrow," he said. "Hopefully, I will be able to go and get a lot of treatment tomorrow and hopefully I am ready [for Sunday]."
When asked whether or not the injury limits him, Williams joked. "Did you see me out there? I could barely run. I had one good burst... After that, it was a wrap!"
That Lopez and Williams are making light of his hobbled status may be a positive omen, but for a team that's beginning to click and string together some victories, the timing couldn't be worse.
Thigh contusions and rib injuries can be tricky. There's no telling whether or how much time either Williams or Wallace may miss, but Sunday's game against the Pacers begins a stretch of four games in six nights for the Nets. To continue their winning ways, they'll need Williams and Wallace on the floor.