The revamped Atlanta Hawks soared out of the gate to open this season, but a recent 3-7 skid has sent the club reeling.
Friday night's visit to the Barclays Center for a matchup with the Brooklyn Nets just made things a whole lot worse.
Midway through the second quarter, supersub Lou Williams (playing his first season in Atlanta after seven straight years with the Philadelphia 76ers) stripped the ball away from Nets rookie Mirza Teletovic and raced down the floor.
What looked like yet another highlight finish for the former preps-to-pros leaper never got off the floor. His right knee appeared to buckle when he went to plant on the leg, and initial fears suggested he may have taken a chunk of Atlanta's hopes with him:
Lou Williams looks to have torn his right knee...Hate to see that happen— Greg Anthony (@GregAnthony50) January 19, 2013
Williams limped off the floor, but needed a wheelchair to make it back to the locker room:
Lou Williams going to locker room. Could not put any weight on leg. #ATLHawks— Chris Vivlamore (@ajchawks) January 19, 2013
It was tough to stomach live and only grew worse on the replays:
Was away from twitter... Did we assume that Lou Williams blew out his knee on that play? Looked real bad.— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) January 19, 2013
The team's official Twitter account reported the injury as a right knee sprain and said that additional testing would be coming both later on tonight and when the team returns to Atlanta.
The struggling Hawks could ill afford a significant absence from Williams, who ranks second on the team in assists (3.7 per game) and third in scoring (14.5).
Hopes abound for some favorable test results, but this was the worst kind of injury to suffer:
With Anthony Morrow already bothered by a strained right hip and sore lower back, rookie John Jenkins (10.5 minutes per game) appears the likely candidate to fill the vacated minutes if Williams misses an extended period of time.
The Nets held off the Hawks 94-89, behind 24 points and seven assists from Deron Williams and 20 rebounds from Reggie Evans.
Jeff Teague led Atlanta with 21 points and 10 assists.