The Brooklyn Nets are off to a surprising start to the 2023-24 campaign despite dealing with several key injuries. The Nets (13-12) have struggled on their current five-game road trip, going 1-3. The Nets have slumped recently because they remain without Ben Simmons, Dennis Smith Jr., and Lonnie Walker IV.
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According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post, all three players have been declared out for Brooklyn’s final game of their road trip.
Simmons has been out since Nov. 6 with a nerve impingement in his lower back. Lewis said Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn said he had no clarity on Simmons’ status and wouldn’t know more until they return to Brooklyn.
This is the two week point where the #Nets had said there would be more clarity on Ben Simmons. Jacque Vaughn said he didn’t have any answers, and didn’t expect to have any until the team gets home and sees Simmons in person. #NBA
— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) December 17, 2023
Smith will miss his sixth straight game as he is dealing with a back injury. Walker IV has been sidelined since Nov. 30 with a hamstring injury, though he could be close to returning.
On a positive note, Lewis said that Dorian Finney-Smith will probably play against the Jazz after sitting out Saturday’s loss to Golden State due to a knee injury. Finney-Smith is having one of his finest seasons, averaging 10.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.2 assists while compiling a shooting slash line of .474/.441/.667.
LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Christian Wood Are Questionable
The Los Angeles Lakers have officially divulged their injury report for their Monday clash against the New York Knicks at Crypto.com Arena. According to Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times, D’Angelo Russell and Jarred Vanderbilt are probable. Russell missed his first game of the season on Saturday due to a non-covid illness. Vanderbilt has been dealing with back spasms for the last week but has played in the previous two games.
— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) December 17, 2023
Anthony Davis is battling a groin/hip issue that forced him to miss his second game on Friday.LeBron James has been on the injury report with a calf ailment for most of the season but is expected to play. Meanwhile, Christian Wood is a semi-new addition to the team injury. Wood was added to the report as he began experiencing the illness on Sunday. All three players are considered questionable.
Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets
The Dallas Mavericks (16-9) have won five of their last six games, but they will be without two starters against the Denver Nuggets (17-10) on Monday. Dereck Lively II and Kyrie Irving are the two players who have been ruled out for tonight. According to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News, Lively sprained his left ankle against Portland on Saturday night and is in a walking boot.
Kidd says X-ray was negative on Lively. Sprained ankle. Too soon to know how long he might be out.
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) December 17, 2023
Townsend also said Irving would miss his fifth straight game, a right heel contusion.
As expected Lively has been declared out for tomorrow’s game here in Denver, as has Irving. pic.twitter.com/w5Hsg4FAic
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) December 17, 2023
Meanwhile, Luka Doncic (illness) is a new addition to the injury list and is probable to play tonight despite not feeling well enough to participate in Monday’s shootaround. Richaun Holmes is also dealing with an illness, which caused him to miss the Mavs’ game on Friday and is listed as questionable tonight.
The Nuggets also have several players listed on their injury report. But starters Jamal Murray (illness) and Aaron Gordon (right heel strain) are probable. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (concussion) has been upgraded to questionable after missing the previous two games.
Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges will not play tonight in Toronto as he was denied entry into Canada. Therefore, he is not with the team.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 18, 2023
Canadian authorities denied Bridges entry into the country, and the Hornets were working on ways to get to Toronto. But those efforts were fruitless. While the reason for the denial of access isn’t known, according to The Charlotte Observer’s Roderick Boone, it may be due to his plea deal from last November, when he pled no contest — accepting punishment and conviction without admitting guilt — in a felony domestic violence case. He also faces newer allegations that are related to the original case.
As Boone writes, anyone with a criminal record can be denied access into Canada. Those with past convictions can file a waiver of exclusion to try and gain clearance, and the process can take several weeks to possibly receive entry. Boone added it was unclear if Bridges filed the waiver, which also has a fee attached.
Charlotte (7-17) won’t have LaMelo Ball, Cody Martin and Frank Ntilikina tonight. Mark Williams (low back, contusion) is doubtful. P.J. Washington (bicep tendinitis) and Gordon Hayward (virus) are questionable. Meanwhile, Terry Rozier (thumb) is probable.