Brooklyn Nets Guard Caris LeVert Probable vs. Toronto Raptors on Saturday
LeVert has missed Brooklyn's last 24 games due to thumb injury
The Brooklyn Nets have listed guard Caris LeVert as probable for Saturday night’s game at Barclays Center against the Toronto Raptors. Guard Garrett Temple, who missed Thursday night’s game in Dallas, has also been listed as probable.
LeVert has missed the Nets’ last 24 games since last playing on Nov. 10 in Phoenix. He underwent surgery later that week to repair ligament damage in his right thumb. Temple had filled his spot in the starting lineup since that week until missing the Dallas game.
LeVert practiced with the team in Brooklyn during Christmas week and was with the Nets during their three-game road trip, taking part in a practice in Dallas on Jan. 1.
“It’s definitely a lot different because this is an upper-body type injury,” said LeVert on Wednesday, referencing last season’s long absence after a foot injury and his conditioning. “I wasn’t really … I was off running for a while. This time, that’s not really the case. I was able to do a lot of lifting and running and things like that. So it’s definitely a lot different.”
While the Nets won 12 of their first 18 games in which both LeVert and Kyrie Irving were sidelined, they’ve dropped their last four. Brooklyn has excelled defensively over the last month, but the absence of the opening night starting backcourt has shown up in the offensive numbers and scoring has been a challenge for the second unit with Brooklyn’s depth tested by the injuries.
In his nine games this season, LeVert was scoring at a career-high rate of 16.8 points per game while averaging 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists. The 6-foot-6 swingman can play multiple positions, but the Nets have a need for a secondary ball-handler and play-maker beyond Dinwiddie with Irving still out. They’ve turned to second-year player Theo Pinson and more recently, Temple, to handle point guard minutes when Dinwiddie has been out of the game.
“It’s easy to slide him in there in many positions,” said head coach Kenny Atkinson of LeVert. “We know when guys have been out he’s played point guard, he’s a point guard at heart so he feels comfortable and knows all our stuff. That’ll really help. I think it’ll really help GT too, just getting him back in his comfort zone.”
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