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Caris LeVert expects to play at Minnesota after knee scare

The Brooklyn Nets had a bad Saturday against the Golden State Warriors, but it didn’t get worse. Caris LeVert says he’s ‘OK’ after falling on his left knee.

Caris LeVert exited Saturday night’s loss to the Golden State Warriors after a hard fall on his left knee in the third quarter and did not return. But the rising Brooklyn Nets star told media members after the game he shouldn’t miss any time, putting to rest a quick scare for fans.

LeVert drove to the basket against Golden State center Damion Jones and landed awkwardly on his left knee after passing the ball while in the air. The Nets wound up losing possession on a shot-clock violation, but LeVert was moving gingerly at the defensive end after the fall.

He was lifted from the game at the next dead ball with 7:47 remaining in the third quarter and did not return, though he was at the scorer’s table ready to re-enter the game in the fourth quarter before coach Kenny Atkinson — with the Nets down by 20 points — opted instead to empty his bench.

LeVert said it wasn’t serious and both the player and the coach said he should be good to go for Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis. LeVert said, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post:

“It feels OK. I just fell on it a little bit, but I’ll be find for the next game. I think I was going to go back in the game. [But] I think we were down 20, 22 points, so I just didn’t go back in.”

Atkinson said it was merely a precaution in a game that had already gotten away from his team.

“It was a 20-point game. We started to make a little bit of a run and then it went back and I didn’t want to put him in. I put some other bench in to see if we couldn’t make a run.”

The run never materialized and the Warriors went on to a 116-100 victory that ended Brooklyn’s three-game winning streak.

LeVert struggled all night even before the injury. The Post reported LeVert played through a head cold Saturday, one night after hitting a last-second game-winner against the Denver Nuggets.

The NBA, in its Last Two-Minute Report for the game said LeVert had gotten away with a traveling violation, lifting his pivot foot before initiating his move to the basket.

Traveling isn’t often called, but the significance of the missed call against LeVert was that Denver’s Nikola Jokic was called for a travel at the other end of the floor on the previous possession.

For just the second time this season, LeVert was held to single-digit scoring, finishing with four points in 21 minutes on 1-of-6 shooting against the Warriors. He was 0-for-3 from 3-point range, made just 2-of-4 at the foul line and was held without an assist for the first time this season.

LeVert also scored only four points in Brooklyn’s 115-96 loss to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 29.

He is now averaging 19.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.3 steals in 30.8 minutes per game this season, shooting .477/.328/.721. His free throw percentage has taken a severe tumble after LeVert has gone just 6-for-13 in the last two games.

Next: 10 best Nets from 2nd NBA decade (1986-96)

The Nets close out their four-game Western road trip Monday night in Minnesota having already secured no worse than a split.

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