Six games into the season and the Nets are still looking for their first win on the road.
If they are going to end that road drought Wednesday night in Sacramento, they will have to do it without forward Andrei Kirilenko. The team announced Tuesday that Kirilenko will not be traveling with them on their three-game West Coast trip, which also includes games against Phoenix and the Clippers. The 32-year-old, who is suffering from back spasms, has already missed two games this season because of the injury.
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"You can have injuries and you just have to take care of them," Nets coach Jason Kidd said when asked how concerned he was over the situation. "For AK, I think he'll be fine. He has to rehab and work and hopefully he'll be back soon."
No one is sure when Kirilenko hurt his back. He last played 13 minutes in the Nets' loss Friday in Washington, all in the first half. Saturday, he awoke with back spasms and sat out the game against Indiana.
Kirilenko's signing was considered a mini-coup when the Nets scooped him up this summer. So far, however, he has played in only four games, averaging 5.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 13.3 minutes.
Last year with the Timberwolves, he missed 18 games with myriad minor injuries.
"AK will heal and get back into the swing of things," Kidd said. "Right now, we have to worry about Sacramento and starting our West Coast trip."
The 1-5 Kings should be the easiest of the three games for the Nets. Sacramento, however, has been in a position to win every one of its games in the fourth quarter, so they could present a challenge for the 2-4 Nets.
Things get more difficult from there as the Suns, who were supposed to be rebuilding, are 5-2 with their only losses to Oklahoma City and San Antonio. The trip concludes with an emotional contest against the Clippers, who are one of the elite teams in the West and are coached by Doc Rivers. Rivers coached both Garnett and Pierce in Boston when they won an NBA title.
Notes & quotes: Deron Williams, who was bothered by a sore ankle early in the season, has looked very aggressive when driving to the basket in the last two practices. "I want to get back to playing basketball," Williams said. "I haven't been able to do it and now I'm just getting to where I feel like I can attack and I'm starting to feel like my old self again."