After waiting until the last possible second to make it official, Andrei Kirilenko finally told reporters on Wednesday that he will sit out the first game of the Brooklyn Nets season with back spasms, but that he hopes to play on Friday.
Kirilenko’s back problems started up early in the preseason and forced him to miss five games. He nearly came back at one point, but suffered a setback when spasms wouldn’t go away. He practiced with the team this week, but back spasms sap a lot of strength from players and tend to linger. The combination means that he will be out at least the first game and potentially Friday’s game against Miami as well.
• Kirilenko isn’t the only one missing this game though as Jason Kidd will sit out the first two games of the season as part of a suspension for getting a DUI in July. Kidd nor the Nets have named his replacement, but by this point everyone would be shocked if it wasn’t ex-Nets coach and current assistant to Kidd Lawrence Frank.
• Deron Williams will start despite his ankle injury. He played in just one preseason game and it was only 10 minutes in the final game at that. He looked solid though so there was no big fear that he would miss tonight’s game. The Nets have said that his minutes will be monitored tonight though so expect him to see at any point if they build up a big enough lead.
• Paul Pierce is expected to be in the lineup tonight, but he skipped practice this week after he stubbed his toe against the Miami Heat and admitted to reporters earlier today that it’s still bothering him. “Hopefully, I’ll go tonight,” he said to reporters this afternoon.
• Shaun Livingston is still dealing with a stiff neck, but is expected to be on the active roster and is listed as probable. Expect Alan Anderson and Tyshawn Taylor to get minutes if he’s slowed down by the neck. Anderson will already be getting plenty of minutes though with Kirilenko out.