The New Jersey Nets' most notable acquisition of the summer, Troy Murphy, recently underwent an MRI which revealed a low back strain/inflammation, an injury that will keep him out indefinitely.
Of further concern is that Murphy was already nursing a groin injury that had kept him out of action in the preseason.
Murphy was brought to New Jersey in a four-team deal with the hopes that he could improve their rebounding numbers. Murphy has averaged 8.6 rebounds for his career and has had five seasons with a double-digit rebounds per game average in his nine year career with Golden State and Indiana.
In his past two seasons with the Pacers, Murphy averaged 11 rebounds a game while scoring nearly 15 points per contest.
It was believed that the addition of Murphy would give rookie Derrick Favors time to develop while seeing limited minutes coming off the bench. With Murphy out until further notice, Favors' role will likely increase.
Favors looked great in his first game action against Israel's Maccabi Haifa, scoring 14 points on 6 of 8 shooting while getting his hands on nine rebounds in 21 minutes.
Since then, though, Favors has struggled in games against Philadelphia and Boston.
Against the 76ers he found himself in foul trouble, scoring just four points and to go along with only one rebound in 13 minutes. Facing the Celtics, the third-overall pick out of Georgia Tech scored just three points and had four rebounds before fouling out.
In the those two games he shot a combined 3 for 13 from the field.
Forward Kris Humphries has started each of New Jersey's three preseason games and has done a solid job of rebounding.
In 24 minutes against Maccabi Haifa, Humphries pulled down 12 rebounds, including four on the offensive end, and in 30 minutes against Philadelphia had nine boards. He played just nine minutes against Boston on Thursday, coming away with four rebounds and two blocked shots. His offensive game is extremely limited.
In 44 games with the Nets in the 2009-10 season, Humphries averaged 6.5 rebounds and 8.1 points a game while seeing his minutes nearly doubled in comparison to his career average.
Veterans Joe Smith and Johan Petro will also see increased minutes in Murphy's absence. They are not to be mistaken for impact players.
Nets' coaches raved about Favors' ability during training camp, although that could have been an attempt to drive up his value in a possible trade for Denver's Carmelo Anthony in which Favors was a key component.
Talks between the Nets and Nuggets could heat up again depending on how serious the front office views Murphy's injury.
However, it is questionable how serious Denver really is about letting go of their franchise player this early in the season. They may try to add a piece of their own to become more of a competitor in the West, enticing Anthony to sign an extension and stay with the team.
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