EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - It has reached the point where the Nets' training room is more like a train station with all the comings and goings of injured players checking in and out of the lineup. The latest is Paul Pierce, who has added injury to the list of struggles he's facing during the worst stretch of his long career.
It was announced yesterday that Pierce, 36, suffered a non-displaced fracture of the third metacarpal of his right hand and will miss two to four weeks. The injury occurred during the first half at Houston on Friday night. Pierce sat out the following night's win at Memphis.
Nets coach Jason Kidd shrugged off the injury to Pierce's shooting hand as part of the game and admitted poor play was the initial reason he benched Pierce and three other starters for the second half of the Houston loss.
"The game was a little out of hand and I needed to get some guys with energy in there," Kidd said. "But understanding his hand was bothering him after the game, we wanted to make sure he was all right."
In addition to Pierce, the Nets (5-12), who have lost 10 of their last 13 games, updated the status of point guard Deron Williams (ankle), ruling him out of Tuesday night's game against Denver at Barclays Center and calling him doubtful for Thursday's home game against the Knicks.
Kidd is pleased with how his reserves have responded even though Alan Anderson shot 0-for-6. Mirza Teletovic had eight points in 15 minutes. "I think you see the depth of this team and the character of each guy," Kidd said. "Mirza, Double-A, guys stepping up and knowing their time is probably a little bit shorter if we're whole, but now to see they're in for major minutes, those guys have responded."
Memphis marked the second game back from an ankle injury for center Brook Lopez, who had 20 points and nine rebounds and drew double-teams that created scoring room for Joe Johnson (26 points) and Andray Blatche (21 points).
"I try to be reliable and consistent," Lopez said. "I want guys to be able to trust that I'm there and know that there will be some consistency in what we do through me."
Interestingly, Kevin Garnett, who had eight points and five rebounds against the Grizzlies, played all 12 minutes of the fourth quarter despite his "minutes restriction."
Kidd indicated the limit on playing time for the 37-year-old Garnett, who logged 28 minutes, might be relaxed, if not eliminated. "We have enough guys so I don't have to play him 12 straight minutes," Kidd said. "But in that situation, he wanted to continue, and he helped us get that win."