Nets' Joe Harris Reveals Injury Suffered Before NBA's Hiatus, Talks Rehab

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2020

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 08:  Joe Harris #12 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on against the Chicago Bulls in the second half at Barclays Center on March 08, 2020 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
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Brooklyn Nets swingman Joe Harris apparently wouldn't have done much playing during the last month even if the 2019-20 NBA season wasn't suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

When speaking to Jeff White of UVA Today (h/t Kurt Helin of NBC Sports),Β Harris revealed he suffered a sprained ankle during Brooklyn's 104-102 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on March 10.

"So I was going to be out a month, no matter what, and then [the NBA shutdown] went down literally the next day," Harris said. "I wasn't even with the team. I flew back to New York with one of our trainers, and we were supposed to play at Golden State [on March 12]. The rest of the team was in San Francisco, and they just had to pack up their stuff and leave from there."

The sharpshooter also said the injury has allowed him to go into the Nets' facilities for rehab even with the league shut down.

"The only loophole that I have right now is that the NBA allowed guys that were in the midst of rehab go into the facility and work with the trainer, so I've been able to do that for the last few weeks," Harris said. "But when I go in, I have to wear a mask and gloves the entire time, and only you and the trainer are allowed in there."

Harris is scheduled to be a free agent following the season, and the league's hiatus has allowed him to rehab without missing any games and potentially impacting his next contract or Brooklyn's position in the standings.

Helin noted he will be ready to return to the court if and when the season resumes, and he will be a key piece for Brooklyn's playoff chances in such a scenario. After all, stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are both sidelined by injuries, leaving the Nets without the two players who figure to lead their offense in the coming years.

Harris is averaging a career-best 13.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game behind 41.2 percent shooting from three-point range.

His ability to hit from deep when defenders collapse on Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie or others has helped the Nets remain in playoff position.

They are 30-34, which is good enough for the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. They are also just a half-game ahead of the eighth-seeded Orlando Magic, meaning a first-round series with the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks or defending champion Toronto Raptors is very much in play.

Brooklyn will need Harris healthy and knocking down threes to have a chance in either matchup.