According to a former teammate, Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie may need surgery, The team says he is being evaluated for a right thumb injury.
Former Detroit Pistons teammate Caron Butler, now co-host of Fox Sports Radio’s Chris & Caron Show with Chris Mannix, tweeted on Thursday that Dinwiddie had injured a “finger” and was being evaluated by specialists to determine a course of action.
Dinwiddie and Butler played together with the Pistons in 2014-15, Dinwiddie’s rookie season in the NBA.
The report was later confirmed by Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.
The Nets have confirmed Dinwiddie is being evaluated for a right thumb injury and listed him as questionable on their initial injury report for Friday’s home game against the New York Knicks.
Dinwiddie played 30 minutes Wednesday night in Brooklyn’s 114-110 victory over the Orlando Magic at Barclays Center, scoring 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting.
But he also came up favoring his right thumb after a fall when he was fouled by Orlando’s Jonathon Simmons early in the fourth quarter. Dinwiddie played the game with a wrap on the thumb.
After placing third in the voting for Most Improved Player last season, Dinwiddie has broken out this season as a top contender for Sixth Man of the Year.
He is the leading scorer for a reserve unit that ranks second in the NBA in bench scoring at 47.1 points per game, trailing only the LA Clippers (51.0).
This season, Dinwiddie is averaging 17.2 points, 5.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 28.6 minutes per game while shooting 46.1 percent overall and 36.6 percent from 3-point range.
He even had a little bit of fun with a media outlet on Thursday after Bleacher Report published an article on its midseason awards and listed Domantas Sabonis of the Indiana Pacers as its pick for Sixth Man of the Year.
It would be a major hit to the Nets’ already short-handed backcourt. Caris LeVert, who opened the season as the team’s starter at shooting guard, has been out since Nov. 12 with a dislocated right foot and still has no timetable for a return.
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LeVert’s replacement in the starting unit, Allen Crabbe, went down with a knee injury on Dec. 12 and remains out and rookie Dzanan Musa, who was playing both guard positions for Brooklyn’s G League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, has been out since Dec. 16 with a partially dislocated left shoulder.
Barring a trade or signing a player to a 10-day or minimum contract (the Nets have had an open roster spot since waiving Kenneth Faried on Saturday), Shabazz Napier would move up to the top of the depth chart at guard, with two-way contract holder Theo Pinson behind him.
Brooklyn is also dealing with injuries in the frontcourt. Jared Dudley has been out since straining his left hamstring in the Nets’ win over the Atlanta Hawks on Jan. 9 and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is listed as questionable for Friday night’s game against the Knicks after straining his left shoulder against Orlando.
Hollis-Jefferson was playing in just his fourth game after missing seven games with a strained right adductor and missed time at the beginning of the season with a left adductor issue.
The Nets have won 18 of their last 23 games and are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference at 26-23 and are 20-15 since LeVert’s injury after losing 10 of their first 12 games after he went down.
D’Angelo Russell has stepped up his play significantly in recent weeks and is having a terrific month of January, averaging 24.1 points and 7.7 rebounds in 11 games this month on solid 49.3 percent shooting overall and 44.2 percent marksmanship from deep.
He is the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, named Monday after leading Brooklyn to a 3-0 week last week that included matching his career-high with 40 points in the Nets biggest come-from-behind win since moving from New Jersey in 2012, a 117-115 win Friday at Orlando in which they were down by as much as 21 points.
The Nets have cleared every injury hurdle thus far, but a lengthy Dinwiddie absence coupled with LeVert not being ready yet to return could severely limit Brooklyn’s ability to create offense.