Washington’s dream of a deep playoff run could have just snapped along with Nene’s knee.
Nene had to leave the court against the Cavaliers Sunday and did not return. It was scary because there was no real contact on the play, Nene had raced back to challenge a shot, leapt and when he landed it was awkward and he was clearly injured. At the time that was called a knee sprain, reports J. Michael of CSNWashington.com but the MRI is Monday.
But the concern around the Wizards is this is a ligament issue that could end Nene’s season, reports Michael Lee at the Washington Post.
There is a fear among some members of the Washington Wizards that Nene is done for the season with a torn ligament in his left knee, although the team won’t know for certain until the Brazilian big man meets with team doctors and has an MRI exam on Monday. According to a person with knowledge of the situation, “It doesn’t look good.”
Nene out for the season and the playoffs would be a blow to Washington.
When Nene is on the court the Wizards defense is 6.7 points per 100 possessions better than when he is sitting — Washington jumps from a below average defensive team to a top 5 defensive team when he plays. Think they could use that in the playoffs?
Less Nene means the Wizards will lean heavily on Marcin Gortat plus need more Kevin Seraphin.
Look at it this way: When John Wall and Gortat are paired the Wizards are +7 per 48 minutes, or +6.5 per 100 possessions if you prefer. With Nene and Wall are paired it is a still good +5.4 per 48, or +5.3 per 100 possessions.
But when Nene, Wall and Gortat played together they were +10.1 per 100 possessions and allowed only 95.7 points per 100 possessions (that is better than every defense in the NBA this season except for the Pacers). If the Wizards were going to make a real dent in the playoffs they needed that combo.
We’ll find out Monday if they get to have it.