Nets LeVert suffers severe leg injury in 1st half

MINNEAPOLIS — Brooklyn NetsCaris LeVert was carried off the court against the Minnesota Timberwolves after significantly injuring his right leg on Monday. The injury occurred with 3.7 seconds remaining in the first half of the game. The Nets announced that after he was assisted off the Target Center court, LeVert was taken to a local hospital by ambulance for further evaluation.

“He is the heart and soul of our program,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “It’s a tough, tough blow for the Nets.”

LeVert came down hard on his right leg after colliding with Jeff Teague on an attempted chase-down block. He sat up and looked down at his leg, before laying back down on the court and placing his hands on his forehead in apparent pain.

The arena was silent as medics attended to LeVert, who had 10 points, five assists and four rebounds when he exited the game.

His teammates huddled together, as did Timberwolves players, as LeVert was taken off the court.

“There was really just no words,” Joe Harris said after the game. “We didn’t talk even when we came in at halftime. There was nothing to be said. Guys were crying. It was really that horrific just to see.”

Derrick Rose, who was also on the court for Gordon Hayward‘s and Paul George‘s gruesome leg injuries, said that LeVert would be in his prayers tonight. Rose, who has suffered significant ACL, meniscus and face injuries, said he would be praying for LeVert.

“It’s always terrible to see something like that,” Rose said in the Timberwolves locker room.

Players in the league also expressed their condolences.

LeVert is no stranger to health adversity — his junior and senior years at Michigan were ended prematurely by injuries. He missed part of his rookie NBA season recovering from foot surgery.

“He has done everything he could possibly do to put himself in a position to succeed, to do well and to be healthy and then you just have a freak accident,” Harris said. “That’s what makes it even tougher for all of us.”

LeVert has emerged as one of the NBA’s young breakout stars this season, blossoming into a cornerstone of the Nets’ rebuild. He entered Monday’s game averaging 19 points, 3.7 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.

“He had a fantastic start to the season,” Atkinson said. “He’s obviously made a huge jump. I just know that if anybody is coming back from this — the human, the character, the person, the player — he’ll come back from this. But a tough, tough blow for the Nets. Our only thoughts are with him. Nothing else matters. The game doesn’t matter tonight.”