The clock on Spencer Dinwiddie’s return will begin Monday, when the Nets guard is scheduled to undergo surgery on torn ligaments in his right thumb.
The Sixth Man of the Year candidate had discussed with doctors, the team and his family about whether to have surgery or continue to play through it — which he said he had been doing for about two months — but opted to get it fixed now as the Nets will have to continue to make their playoff push without him.
“Those aren’t easy decisions,” coach Kenny Atkinson said Sunday after practice. “Obviously I feel terrible for Spencer because he was playing great.”
The surgery could sideline Dinwiddie for up to six weeks, according to Dr. Kevin Roenbeck, a hand specialist at the Ridgewood Orthopedic Group in New Jersey.
Dinwiddie, who was not made available for comment Sunday, seemed to be more optimistic about his recovery. In a tweet Saturday night, in which he joked about going on strike starting Monday if teammate Joe Harris does not make the 3-point contest, he said he would not re-evaluate his decision “for approximately three weeks.”
Atkinson said he did not want to speculate on a time frame for Dinwiddie’s return, but was hoping the latest setback could open the door for someone else to step up.
“We’ve also found some gems [through the injuries],” Atkinson said. “We’ve somehow managed to fill the gap and be resilient. We’ve just got to do it again.”
Shabazz Napier and rookie Theo Pinson, who scored a career-high 19 points Friday in a win over the Knicks, will be counted on in that regard.
“Unfortunately when guys get hurt, most of the time, teams come together, because guys got to find certain roles and redevelop themselves on [how] they can help the team,” Napier said. “Right now, we’re getting wins off of it, but at the end of the day, when we have a whole team back, I think this team will be much better than what we are.”
Spots have been filling up for the 3-point contest at NBA All-Star weekend, but the Nets have not heard anything yet about an invitation for Harris.
Seth Curry, Stephen Curry, Dirk Nowitzki, Buddy Hield and Damian Lillard will all compete, per multiple reports, leaving just three open spots. Harris has shot a career-high 46.8 percent from 3 this season, which ranks third in the NBA.
“Guy deserves it,” Atkinson said. “Where he’s come from and how much better he’s gotten, it’d be a great story. I’d love it for him. It would be great for Brooklyn, great for the NBA.”
Atkinson also said, “heck yes,” rookie Rodions Kurucs should be in the Rising Stars Challenge.
Harris (right hip soreness) and Treveon Graham (sore lower back) are questionable for Monday’s game against the Celtics. Allen Crabbe (knee), Jared Dudley (hamstring), Caris LeVert (foot) and Dzanan Musa (shoulder) all remain out.