Brooklyn Nets: DeMarre Carroll injury to test depth early

(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

DeMarre Carroll will be lost to the Brooklyn Nets indefinitely, as he is set to have surgery on his right ankle. The Nets improved depth will be tested early in the new season.

The Brooklyn Nets invested in improving their depth this offseason. That investment will get an early test with news breaking on Tuesday that forward DeMarre Carroll will undergo surgery on his right ankle and will be out indefinitely.

The 32-year-old Carroll started all 73 games he played last season, his first in Brooklyn, and averaged a team-high 29.9 minutes per game to go with career-highs of 13.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists a night.

Carroll sat out the final two games of the preseason with the ankle problem, one that coach Kenny Atkinson still isn’t considering too serious.

Carroll isn’t the only Net who will be out of action Wednesday night when Brooklyn opens the season in Detroit against the Pistons.

Allen Crabbe is still recovering from the sprained left ankle he sustained when the Nets were in Detroit on Oct. 8 and Shabazz Napier is continuing to recover from a strained right hamstring that sidelined him for the entire preseason. per Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has been participating fully in practice for most of the last week, but his status for the opener is still to be determined. He had been slowed by a strained left adductor since early August.

Carroll had played primarily as a small-ball 4 during his two preseason outings, scoring nine points with 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks in 43 minutes of action. He shot 3-for-15/0-for-9/3-for-3.

But a bad ankle could explain the poor shooting — hard to get lift on the jumper when the pins underneath aren’t feeling right.

With Carroll and Crabbe out, the Nets rolled out a lineup for the final two preseason games with Jared Dudley starting at the 4 and Joe Harris at the 3, with Caris LeVert moving from the 3 to the 2 alongside D’Angelo Russell at the 1. Jarrett Allen, of course, manned the 5 spot.

Dudley had his best effort of the preseason in the finale at Madison Square Garden, logging 28 minutes and finishing with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting, canning 2-of-5 from 3-point range. He also had five boards and two steals.

On the preseason, Dudley averaged 6.3 points and 3.5 rebounds in 22.5 minutes a game, shooting 9-for-15/6-for-11/1-for-2.

Hollis-Jefferson is not a likely contender to start Wednesday night. He’s been working with the second unit in practice and Atkinson has a history of not immediately plugging players returning from injury right back into the starting five.

It’s bad luck for Carroll and the Nets, but this is where the work by general manager Sean Marks to upgrade the club’s depth will get tested.

The early schedule was going to be a test already, with four of the first five games on the road — with three straight road contests against 2018 playoff teams in Indiana, Cleveland and New Orleans.

That stretch is followed by a return home … to host the two-time defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

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Here’s some positive spin to put on that: In the preseason, Brooklyn was 2-0 in true road games.