Former University of Michigan guard Caris LeVert sustained a gruesome injury to his right leg in Monday night’s matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
LeVert, in his third season with the Nets, was contesting a drive to the basket and landed awkwardly on his right leg, which contorted as he landed. The injury was reminiscent to the one that Boston Celtics guard Gordon Hayward suffered last season that caused him to miss the entire season.
“Caris LeVert sustained a right leg injury and is being taken to a local hospital where he will undergo a full evaluation,” the Nets said in a team release Monday night. “Further updates will be issued as available.”
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LeVert was having a breakout season, averaging 19 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists and was becoming the Nets’ team leader, both on and off the court.
“He’s the heart and soul of our program. So, really tough blow,” Nets Coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters. “I feel for him. He’s had a fantastic start to the season. He’s obviously made a huge jump. I just know Caris — if anybody’s coming back from this, knowing the human, the person, the player, he’ll come back from this. Tough blow for the Nets.
“It’s a devastating blow for us and for him. Our thoughts should be with him and his recovery.”
LeVert also was sidelined by foot injuries in his final two seasons at Michigan and helped the Wolverines to the Final Four in 2013 as a freshman. He was the No. 20 pick in the first round by the Indiana Pacers and traded to the Nets in the 2016 draft. Slowed by his foot maladies his draft stock tumbled, but the Nets took a chance on him, taking him higher than most draft analysts had predicted.
He was starting to turn things around this season — and then Monday happened.
“That was really difficult to see. We’re a close-knit family and just seeing that in person like that, it breaks your heart. It really does,” said guard Joe Harris. “We were all really torn up about it.”
The NBA fraternity reacted to the news of LeVert’s injury with words of encouragement and support: