The Nets’ depth took another hit Monday afternoon. Joe Harris, who had been dealing with a left ankle sprain, underwent successful arthroscopic surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery, the team announced.
There’s no timeline for Harris’ return from the procedure, which removed a bone particle from his ankle, coach Steve Nash said. He said the surgery will not end the forward’s season.
The move eliminates one of the best shooters in the game in Harris, who was injured on Nov. 14 in a game against the Thunder.
"It’s a challenge," Nash said. "He brings a lot to the table. Obviously, he’s an elite shooter, he spaces the floor. He’s such a great teammate, plays with pace and toughness defensively. He boxes out, does all the little things, so when you add it all up, it’s a lot to miss. We look forward to having him back, but the positive is we feel confident that the procedure will allow him to come back and not look back instead of trying to manage this thing."
Harris was averaging 30.2 minutes before his injury and shooting 46.6% from three-point range, second in the league.
In his absence, the Nets will turn to Patty Mills, who has the highest three-point percentage (.500) in the NBA this season, and Cam Thomas. They are, of course, still playing without Kyrie Irving.
Depth is "always something to be concerned with just because it’s not just one guy," Nash said. "It’s always one, two or three, so the positive is we’ve got a bunch of new guys that we’re trying to find an identity for and roles for and that connection with one another, so we have time to reinforce some of those things."
Thomas said Nash hasn’t spoken to him about an increased role. "But obviously, you got to be ready because you never know when you’re going to be thrown in or when your time is," Thomas said.
Claxton making progress
Nic Claxton (non-COVID illness) is getting closer to a return, Nash said, but still shouldn’t be expected in the next few days. Nash is hopeful that he’ll return in the next week or so.
Griffin adapts to new role
After falling out of the rotation, Blake Griffin said he’s adapting to his new role, even reaching out to former Net DeAndre Jordan for advice (Jordan also was benched last season). "My job is to stay ready," he said. "Play with these guys and work out and extra conditioning, shots and just be ready if they need me."