The Brooklyn Nets are inching closer to being fully healthy, with DeMarre Carroll upgraded for Tuesday’s game at Phoenix and Treveon Graham progressing.
Carroll, who has been out since having an arthroscopic procedure on his right ankle in mid-October, has been upgraded to doubtful for Brooklyn’s game Tuesday night against the Phoenix Suns as the Nets open a four-game Western Conference road trip.
Rookie Dzanan Musa will not make the trip, but not due to injury. Instead, Musa has been assigned to the Long Island Nets of the G League, where he will be able to get some competitive minutes. Long Island plays again on Thursday.
Musa played for the G League Nets in their season opener Saturday, logging 37 minutes.
Brian Lewis of the New York Post reported the status.
Coach Kenny Atkinson told the media, via the New York Post, that Carroll may not be likely to play against the Suns, but is closer.
“He went pretty hard [Monday]. I’m not going to give you what that means for the Phoenix game. But I think we were all pretty pleased with what he did [Monday]. It was another level of ramp up. So he’s getting close. He’s getting real close.”
Carroll hasn’t played since Brooklyn’s second preseason game at Detroit on Oct. 8. With Rondae Hollis-Jefferson out to start the preseason, Atkinson had moved Carroll — who had been the starter at the 3 most of last season — to the 4 for the first two preseason encounters.
With Carroll out, veteran Jared Dudley was inserted into the lineup and started the final two preseason games as well as Brooklyn’s first 10 games since the regular season began on Oct. 17.
The 32-year-old Carroll is coming off the best individual season of his nine-year NBA career in 2017-18, when he averaged career-highs in scoring (13.5 points per game), rebounding (6.6 per game) and assists (2.0 per game) while starting all 73 games in which he played.
In 29.9 minutes per game, Carroll shot .414/.371/.764.
The Nets acquired Carroll from the Toronto Raptors in July 2017 as a salary dump, getting Toronto’s 2018 first-round pick and a 2018 second-round pick that had originally belonged to the Los Angeles Lakers along with Carroll and sending Justin Hamilton to the Raptors in return.
The Nets selected Musa with the first-round pick and took Rodions Kurucs with the second-rounder.
Carroll is in the final season of a four-year, $60 million deal he signed as a free agent with Toronto in July 2015.
The veteran was selected by the Memphis Grizzlies with the 27th overall pick out of the University of Missouri in 2009 and has also played with the Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz and Atlanta Hawks.
Brooklyn head coach Kenny Atkinson was an assistant coach with the Hawks each of Carroll’s two seasons in Atlanta.
On Sunday, Lewis had reported that Graham has begun running and is scheduled this week for a follow-up MRI on his strained left hamstring.
Graham injured the hamstring on a drive to the basket against the New York Knicks in the home opener on Oct. 19 and has not played since.
Graham, who turned 25 on Oct. 29, emerged in the preseason as a very versatile defender for the Nets, similar to Hollis-Jefferson in his ability to ably guard multiple positions.
Listed on the roster as a 2, Graham played both the 3 and 4 spots during the preseason and early in the regular campaign.
He is in the first year of a two-year veteran’s minimum deal he signed with the Nets on July 3 after playing his first two seasons with the Charlotte Hornets. Graham’s $1.65 million salary for 2019-20 is not guaranteed.
In the first two games, Graham had not scored and had four rebounds with an assist and a steal in 27 minutes, going 0-for-3 from the floor and 0-for-2 from 3-point range.
He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Utah Jazz in 2015 after a solid four-year collegiate career at VCU. When he was cut by the Jazz late in the preseason, he spent a year in the G League before signing with Charlotte on a camp deal in 2016 and then making the roster.
Last season, Graham emerged as a regular member of the Hornets’ rotation, playing in 63 games and starting two while averaging 4.3 points in 16.7 minutes per game on .434/.412/.695 shooting.