Updates from Monday, Feb. 24
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has the latest on Nene's injury:
Nene is expected to be lost to the Wizards for four-to-six weeks, league source tells Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 24, 2014
One night after dropping 30 points on the New Orleans Pelicans, Nene was forced to leave the Washington Wizards' Sunday night game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the third quarter. Before exiting, he had eight points, four rebounds and four assists in 21 minutes.
The team later confirmed that the Brazilian big man sprained his left knee:
Nene is out for remainder of game w/ a left knee sprain #WizCavs— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) February 24, 2014
Rick Noland of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram provided an update after the game:
Nene to have MRI on left knee Monday. banged with Spencer Hawes— Rick Noland MG/CT (@RickNoland) February 24, 2014
Michael Lee of The Washington Post passed along a statement from teammate Marcin Gortat:
Marcin Gortat on Nene's knee injury: “It’s too early to say, but we’re all scared. We’re hoping it’s nothing serious." #wizards— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) February 24, 2014
Nene is a huge loss for the Wizards. The 31-year-old is averaging 14.4 points and 5.8 rebounds in 30.3 minutes per game this season, and gives the team a second interior presence alongside Gortat.
Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin and Al Harrington should all see an uptick in minutes with Nene out, but all of them represent a steep drop-off in terms of production. Booker, the most likely candidate to slide into the starting lineup, gives Washington some toughness inside, but is undersized at the 4 and has a limited offensive skill set.
Simply put, the longer Nene is out, the more the Wizards' chances of getting home-court advantage for the playoffs will suffer. They are currently fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, but are within striking distance of the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors.