Brooklyn Nets Joe Harris initially suffered the injury in a November 14 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Just as one critical Brooklyn Nets returns to the lineup, another has been ruled out for the season. Mere minutes before Kevin Durant’s return from a knee injury, Nets general manager Sean Marks confirmed that Joe Harris will undergo his second ankle surgery since November, ending his season. “We all feel terrible for Joe,” Marks said. “We all know just how much he means to this group, but again, he’ll be on the sideline cheering us on. That’s a big role unto itself, and there’s nobody more fitting to do that than Joe.”
Read more: Devin Booker enters NBA’s health and safety protocols
Harris initially suffered the injury in a Nov. 14 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. He underwent his first surgery soon after and has been out ever since. The Nets had been quiet about his status as he recovered, but finally, a second surgery became an inevitability.
Harris had been shooting over 46 percent from behind the arc, a remarkable feat for most players but a relatively ho-hum season for a shooter who has led the NBA in 3-point percentage in two of the past four seasons. That shooting would have been especially valuable on a Nets team integrating Ben Simmons, a complete non-shooter, into their rotation. Harris still has two years left on the four-year deal he signed in 2020, so he will likely have his chance to prove his worth next to Simmons next season.
Read more: Isiah Thomas properly blasts Charles Oakley for disparaging Giannis Antetokounmpo
For now, the Nets are fortunately stocked with plenty of shooters. Seth Curry was acquired in the Simmons deal and has been a major upgrade in the backcourt for the Nets. Patty Mills came on the mid-level exception in the offseason and has been similarly essential. Should Kyrie Irving be granted the right to play on a full-time basis as well, the Nets would arguably have the most shooting in all of basketball even in lineups built around Simmons.
But for now, they have no way of replacing the size Harris brings to that role. He can play passable defense as an elite shooter, something neither Curry nor Mills has ever really been able to do. That’s going to make it significantly harder for the Nets to live up to their preseason status as championship favorites.
Twitter reacts as Denver Nuggets clean sweep Lakers to make it into their first NBA finals