Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has no timetable for a return from an adductor strain, while Treveon Graham has been assigned to Long Island.
The bad news is that Hollis-Jefferson has no timetable for a return from what is being called a strained right adductor.
The good news, according to Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson is that the injury is less severe than the strained left adductor that kept Hollis-Jefferson out for the entire preseason and the regular season opener, according to Greg Joyce of the New York Post.
Hollis-Jefferson left Saturday’s loss at Milwaukee just three minutes into the first quarter after pulling up with pain in his right leg while attempting to drive to the basket.
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He remained in the game for about another minute, but was noticeably favoring the right leg before checking out of the game in favor of reserve Jared Dudley.
It was Dudley that was removed from the starting lineup in favor of RHJ for Brooklyn’s Nov. 25 game against the Philadelphia 76ers after Dudley had started the first 20 games of the season.
In his 18 starts at the 4, Hollis-Jefferson had averaged 10.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 26.6 minutes per game while shooting 40.9 percent overall and 7-for-19 from 3-point range.
Hollis-Jefferson also started Brooklyn’s Nov. 12 game at Minneapolis against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but that was at center in place of ailing Jarrett Allen, who was out with an illness.
RHJ had missed four games this season, opening night before being cleared from the adductor strain he sustained in early August while playing in a charity game in China organized by former Net Jeremy Lin.
He missed the next two games on paternity leave after the birth of his son and sat out the Nets’ road win over the Washington Wizards on Nov. 16 with a sprained ankle.
The concern with Hollis-Jefferson dealing with yet another adductor problem — however severe — is that he hasn’t really looked right all season after the first injury. He’s lacked explosiveness when trying to finish drives and his shooting has suffered as a result.
After averaging 13.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steals in 68 games, 59 of them starts, and 28.2 minutes per game last season while shooting 47.2 percent overall and 24.1 percent from deep, his numbers are down across the board this year, and not just because of a dip in playing time.
In 34 games this season, 19 starts, he’s averaging 9.9 points and 5.9 rebounds in 24.0 minutes per game while shooting 40.5 percent overall and 24.2 percent from deep.
Additionally, his free throw percentage this season is a career-low 65.9 percent after he hit a career-best 78.8 percent in 2017-18.
Per 36 minutes, RHJ’s scoring is down from 17.7 points to 14.9.
It’s in the paint where his percentages have suffered the most. Hollis-Jefferson is shooting 54.4 percent in the restricted area and just 30.8 percent from three to 10 feet after hitting 59.7 percent and 36.9 percent, respectively, from those areas a season ago.
But Atkinson is optimistic about the prognosis, per Michael Scotto of The Athletic.
Meanwhile, it does appear that wing Treveon Graham, who has missed the last 36 games since straining his left hamstring in the Oct. 19 home opener against the New York Knicks, may be getting closer to a return.
According to Greg Logan of Newsday, Graham has been assigned to the Long Island Nets of the NBA G League. He had practiced with the Nets’ G League affiliate earlier this month, but Logan speculated this latest assignment may be to get Graham some game action.
The Nets signed Graham to a two-year, $3.16 million contract as an unrestricted free agent on July 30 after he spent the last two seasons with the Charlotte Hornets. Graham’s deal is not guaranteed for next season.
He played 17 minutes in the opener at Detroit and had logged 10 in the game against the Knicks before leaving in the second quarter. Graham was attempting to drive to the basket when he went down with the hamstring injury and has not played since.
In those two games, Graham was 0-for-3 overall and missed both of his 3-point attempts, with four rebounds, an assist and a steal.
He played 63 games, starting two, with Charlotte last season and averaged 4.3 points in 16.7 minutes per game, shooting 43.4 percent overall and knocking down 41.2 percent from 3-point range.
He is a former undrafted free agent from VCU who signed with the Hornets in July 2016 after playing the 2015-16 season with the Idaho Stampede in what was then known as the NBA Developmental League.
With Idaho, Graham averaged 15.7 points and 6.1 rebounds in 30.4 minutes per game over 46 games, with 20 starts, while hitting 46 percent overall and 33 percent from deep.
Graham impressed the coaches with his defensive flexibility in the preseason, as even as 6-foot-5 and 219 pounds, he was adept at guarding 1 through 4 when called upon, while earning comparisons to Hollis-Jefferson for his switchability at the defensive end.
The Nets could welcome a return from one of their growing list of injured players.
Besides Hollis-Jefferson and Graham, wing Allen Crabbe has missed nine straight games and according to Brian Heyman, a New York-based freelance journalist, Crabbe is doubtful for Wednesday’s game at Barclays Center against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Caris LeVert remains out indefinitely after dislocating his right foot in November and rookie Dzanan Musa has been out for the last seven games since sustaining a partial dislocation of his left shoulder during a Dec. 16 game with Long Island while on assignment to the G League.
That leaves Brooklyn with just 10 healthy players on the roster, along with two-way contract holders Theo Pinson — who played 28 minutes for the Nets in Saturday’s game at Milwaukee — and Alan Williams, who has yet to make an appearance for Brooklyn this season.