The longest season in recent memory will now certainly become a tad bit longer, as the Brooklyn Nets announced on Sunday that Jarrett Jack has suffered a torn ACL and small medial meniscus tear in his right knee and is expected to miss the rest of the season.
Given only $500,000 of his $6.3 million salary for next season is guaranteed, the injury means Jack, 32, may have played his final game as a member of the Nets.
Nobody deserves that type of bad fortune, but for Jack, it is especially sad.
I happened to be in Las Vegas on the day Jack was traded to the Nets. It was a pretty usual July day at Impact Basketball Academy. Jack was manning the point guard position in a pickup game between himself and a few other NBA players and hopefuls. As someone who had long admired his game, I paid close attention to Jack and how he barked orders out on offense and called out screens on defense.
The Nets, I thought, would be the latest beneficiary of inheriting Jack's basketball talents. The Cleveland Cavaliers needed to clear some additional cap space to sign LeBron James, and the Nets, always eager to make a trade, were in the right place at the right time.
The common conception among NBA players and front offices is that a player who moves around a lot might be damaged goods. If he is a talented basketball player that cannot find a permanent home, then maybe he must have poor work habits. Maybe he's not a good locker-room person or maybe he has some other issues that aren't worth the patience.
Or, such as is the case with Jack, a player of his ilk is one whom is always in demand in the NBA. There are some who are consummate professionals who work hard, prepare diligently and always do what is required of them by their circumstances. That is Jack, and the NBA needs more players like him.
When I spoke with Jack for the first time as Net, we had a brief exchange about his transient career. Jack told me he wasn't really sure why he hasn't been able to find a consistent home in this league, but he had taken something new from every one of his situations and that he was looking forward to bringing his experiences and work ethic to Brooklyn.
Despite everything that has gone on around him, it's fair to say Jack did exactly that.
Once the divorce with Deron Williams was complete, Jack became a full-time starter for the first time since he held that position in New Orleans for the 2011-12 season.
Lost in the Nets nightmare of a season has been Jack's individual productivity. Becoming the team's full-time starter, he raised his scoring and rebounding while substantially increasing his assist output, going from 4.7 assists per game during the 2014-15 season to 7.4 assists per game over the course of his 32 games this year.
Throughout Brooklyn's turmoil, Jack has been a constant. Usually one of the first players to arrive and last to leave, the only words that should be used to describe him are "dedicated" and "professional."
And as the Nets continue their season, knowing they will do so without Jack is a tough pill to swallow.
As transient as he has been, Jack has never been unwanted. For his sake, hopefully he comes back stronger from his current injury.
This is no obituary; it is merely an ode to a true professional who deserves an immense amount of respect for his dedication to his craft, and perhaps a small bit of sorrow for the unfortunate end to his season.