Rod Thorn had an idea that something was wrong with Jarvis Hayes. The valuable sixth man hasn’t looked like the Hayes we all saw last year.
“Jarvis hasn’t been himself,” Thorn said last night. “One of his legs is bothering him. We need his out-court shooting. I’m always concerned when guys are injured.”
This was before it was determined that Hayes has a stress reaction to his right tibia and will be out at least a week. It’s possible depending on what happens that Hayes will miss the remainder of the preseason games.
He obviously won’t play tomorrow against the Knicks; Wednesday against the Knicks also seems doubtful. Does he get in the final dress rehearsal next Friday versus the Sixers? Maybe, but probably not.
Lawrence Frank sounded like a doctor – but he probably was just told this by Tim Walsh or another medical person – when he discussed Hayes’ health.
“Stress reaction right shin," Frank said, "which means if you let it continue to go it becomes a stress fracture."
“Let’s say ballpark a week, but could be longer.”
Can’t be shorter?
“Could be longer.”
Well, that puts the preseason in doubt.
Hayes is being fit for an orthodic and doesn't seem too worried.
"It' just a week," he said.
Like anything else, the Nets have to be prudent. Obviously, they need their guys for the regular season. Sure it helps if Devin Harris was healthy and Hayes and Keyon Dooling, but it’s more important that they’re OK for the long haul.
Although the mounting injuries has it made it difficult to see what this team is going to look like once the regular season hits.
“Here’s the deal and these guys know it: they need to practice,” Frank said. “One, practice is going to make them better. But if they’re not able to practice, the one thing we don’t want to do is worsen an injury.”
Dooling won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. There is no timetable for his return from hip surgery. Maybe sometime in November, maybe early December depending on how he progresses. (Now, I’m not a doctor. I’m giving you educated speculation).
As of now, at least, it seems Harris and Hayes will be available for the Oct. 28 opener at Minnesota.
Thorn has been relatively pleased with what he’s seen thus far, but he also wants the players to know that they have to play hard at all times.
“I think we have played pretty hard for most of the time. I think some of our players have played pretty high-level. I think we’ve had a real problem closing out games, a real problem scoring late in the ball game. Devin has not been able to play many minutes because of various injuries, which would help with that. I think we’ve done some good things and some things we certainly need to improve on. We’re a work in progress. I’m sure it will be that way for a while.
“Brook looks like he’s going to be consistently an upper-teens scorer for us. I think he’s been good. Courtney in his first real outing looked good. I think he’s going to be a solid player for us. We need to play really hard every night. Our margin for error is not what you like it to be. If you want to play on this team, that’s what you have to do.”
This should be a given, but players sometimes let up a little when they have a bunch of bad offensive sequences consecutively or a series of bad defensive sequences. This team can’t afford to do that, which is something that definitely has been and will continue to be stressed.
They should listen to Thorn and veteran point guard Rafer Alston, who has played for five teams and started in the Finals last year.
"We have to sustain the level of mental focus and toughness," Alston said. In the preseason when things get tough we start to get down and drop our heads. We've got to keep playing and understand that's part of the game. You're going to have situations where we're not scoring the ball. You've got to continue to play the rest of the game. We've struggled with that in the preseason."
Rafer's new here. It hasn't just been the preseason. The last several years it has been in the regular season too - too often.
One power forward returned today and one left.
Yi Jianlian was back practicing after missing yesterday with a strained right shoulder. He’s expected to play tonight.
But Eduardo Najera missed practice with a sore back. This probably is going to be a chronic thing so expect to see plenty of Bobby Simmons at backup power forward.
Our guess is that both Najera and Simmons will get shots there, depending on matchups and health. Najera is the better defender and more active guy. He can help the Nets on the defensive end. But Simmons showed last year that he can stretch the defense. Teams can’t give him a corner three.
Usual knee stuff and now shoulder discomfort limited Tony Battie to just "four-sevenths" of practice Frank said with some prodding.