Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin is expected to miss the rest of the season after rupturing the patella tendon in his right knee. Lin was hurt midway through the fourth quarter of the Nets’ 140-131 loss Wednesday night in the season opener at Indiana. He landed hard behind the baseline after a drive and was in tears as he clutched at his knee.
The former Harvard guard was hoping for a stronger second season with the Nets. He was limited to 36 games last season, mostly because of a left hamstring injury, while Brooklyn finished with the NBA’s worst record.
“Jeremy worked tremendously hard during the offseason and in training camp and was excited for the prospects of the team this season,” general manager Sean Marks said Thursday in a statement. “We feel awful that the injury will cost him the season, however our entire organization will be there to support Jeremy in every way possible throughout his recovery. Jeremy remains an important part of this team and will continue to contribute in a leadership role.”
Lin scored 18 points before he was hurt while starting alongside fellow point guard D’Angelo Russell, the former No. 2 pick acquired from the Lakers in an offseason trade. Coach Kenny Atkinson had planned to start games with both players, then split the playing time, so he had one of them on the floor as much as possible.
“Jeremy worked really hard to get back from injury, so we hope everything’s OK,” Atkinson said after the game. “You never want to see somebody go down, especially someone who worked so hard to come back.”
Lin was hurt in the fifth game last season and missed more than a month. He aggravated the injury about two weeks after returning and didn’t play again until after the All-Star break.
He had come to Brooklyn with a three-year, $36 million deal, returning to the city where he was a breakout star with the New York Knicks during his run of Linsanity in 2012. That lasted just 35 games before a season-ending knee injury.
“I think the things we’re going to miss are his competitiveness. He really sets the standard with his competitiveness,” said Atkinson, whose relationship with Lin goes back to their days with the Knicks.
“How much he improved as a defensive player from the time he was with the Knicks up to now is amazing _ and then just his leadership by example, his understanding of what the staff wants, what the coaching staff wants. We’ve got to call it what it is, it’s a big blow.”