CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Andrei Kirilenko sat on top of the courtside scorer's table without a sneaker or sock on, his bare foot exposed as he wore a look of disappointment.
Kirilenko already knew he wasn't going to play against the Bobcats Wednesday night, marking the second straight game he was forced to take a seat thanks to the sprained ankle he suffered in the second quarter of the Nets' overtime win in Dallas on Sunday. He said it was feeling a little better and there was "no structural damage, which is good."
But it sounds as if he's going to need a bit more time to get it to the point where he'll be able to give it a go, putting his status for tomorrow night's game against the Cavaliers up in the air.
"I will try to get healthy as soon as possible," Kirilenko said. "It's just going to take a couple of more days."
Kirilenko has missed 33 games this season with an assortment of ailments.
Marcus Thorton's bruised lower back didn't heal sufficiently enough for him to play.
Thornton took a spill in the first half of the Nets' overtime loss to the Pelicans Monday night, landing on his tailbone, something he said he's done "1,000 times, but it still hurts every time." He wears a pad for protection, but said he just missed falling on it and wasn't able to get the cushy support.
A native of Baton Rouge, La., some of Thornton's friends and family were in the building that night and saw him get hurt, further compounding an already frustrating situation.
"It was very tough," Thornton said. "As soon as I did it, I saw my mom walk out, too. It was tough, but it was even tougher that I couldn't be out there to help my team."
Initially, the play was ruled a Flagrant 1 foul, but after reviewing it, the officials sent Gutierrez to the locker room early on a Flagrant 2, ending his night after a nice six-point, two-assist effort in a season-high 19:22.
"I didn't think it , and I watched the replay and it looked pretty bad," Gutierrez said. "But it wasn't my intention to do that at all. Coach always said, 'Nothing easy.' Make them earn it at the free-throw line. I just tried to do a hard play. That's all."
Gutierrez's second 10-day contract ends at midnight Thursday and he said he hasn't received any word if he'll be signed for the remainder of the season. But he's played well in his spot duty, proving he belongs.
"I feel comfortable," Gutierrez said. "I think I've played well. My teammates make the game easy for me, so we'll see what happens after this."
Jason Kidd believes there's a simple way to keep Mason Plumlee out of constant foul trouble.
"Take him out early," the Nets coach said with a smile.
Plumlee is averaging 5.1 fouls per 36 minutes of action and at times has to take a seat not long into the game when he picks up quick fouls. With Kevin Garnett missing the last 14 games with back spasms, the Nets are already shorthanded up front, meaning Plumlee has to continue to try to be selective in using his aggressiveness trying to block shots and defend the paint.
"With Dre and 'Twin' backing him up, he can use his fouls wisely," Kidd said. "But you don't want the silly ones and I think for a rookie, you are going to have that, some nights when he makes mistakes. But overall, he's been a positive for us and he's getting better each time he takes the floor."