Nets coach Kenny Atkinson stood on the court as practice was ending Monday at the HSS Training Center, shooting with two of his players and making three-pointers from the corner and the wings. Not bad for a 49-year-old former St. Anthony’s point guard.
“It de-stresses me,” he said. “I get a little closer to the players.”
His point guard/most valuable player went down again Sunday, but this time the coach’s stress level shouldn’t be rising too much. Jeremy Lin’s latest injury — the right ankle sprain suffered in the first quarter of a loss to Dallas — isn’t as severe as the two hamstring problems that cost him 43 games.
“Just day-to-day, nothing serious,” Lin said. “I’m encouraged. Even [Sunday], I was encouraged, too. It was just an ankle tweak thing and not like a hamstring or anything like that . . . Obviously, a lot of it is to see how it responds, which I guess is more of the tricky part.”
Lin is listed as doubtful for Tuesday night’s game against Detroit at Barclays Center. His latest return from his hamstring woes came after the All-Star break, and the Nets began playing better. Atkinson said he saw “Jeremy and Brook [Lopez] can definitely play together, and they have really good chemistry.”
The team went 4-8. Then Lin landed on J.J. Barea’s ankle after releasing a shot. “I feel like it’s the story of our season, or my season,” he said. “Every time it seems like we’re about to hit our stride, or get in a rhythm, or we start to figure things out, something happened.”
The Nets are 7-15 when Lin starts and 6-41 when he doesn’t.
“Hopefully, he’ll get back soon and we’ll get rolling,” Atkinson said. “In the meantime, I thought Spencer [Dinwiddie] jumped in and did an admirable job.”
The third-year pro, who played 46 games for Detroit the previous two seasons, had 18 points and seven assists. He is in line to start, but it hurt him to see Lin get hurt again. “It’s just really at this point sadness and your heart goes out for him,” he said, “because he’s such a hard worker and he’s such a great leader.”
Dinwiddie arrived from the D-League on Dec. 8. He has shot 39.4 percent on three-pointers and averaged 7.0 points, 3.2 assists and 1.2 turnovers in 46 games (16 starts). The Nets hold an option for next season.
“In previous [seasons], I felt like I proved I belonged in the NBA in general,” Dinwiddie said. “But I hope that I’ve put my best foot forward and proved that I belong with the Nets long term.”