DETROIT — So you thought the Nets’ injury problems were already bad enough? Their woes got worse Monday night, when returning starter Allen Crabbe suffered a sprained left ankle.
The Nets were already without five players, including starting power forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Now they lost their starting shooting guard as well when Crabbe rolled his ankle just 2:46 into the game. He limped off with help from Kenneth Faried and Dzanan Musa and didn’t return.
“Sprained ankle right now. X-rays are negative. We’ll know later,” coach Kenny Atkinson said of Crabbe, whose status for Wednesday against Toronto is uncertain.
What is certain is that missing Crabbe — who has two years and $37 million left on his contract — for any extended time would be a tough blow for a Nets team in desperate need of outside shooting. He averaged 13.2 points last season, his .378 shooting percentage from deep best among Nets starters.
Faried’s Nets debut will be delayed for at least another game, after being held back until the Raptors game Wednesday.
“Coach had the plan. I’m fine though. Montreal, I’ll be back. It should be good,” Faried told The Post. “I’m fine. I’m like I said, me and coach discussed it. He was like, ‘Hey, not today,’ OK, cool. It’s perfectly fine with me.”
Faried missed the first two preseason games with left ankle soreness.
“He just needs more of a build-up, that’s all, for Faried,” Atkinson said. “I expect him to play the next game.”
Hollis-Jefferson (adductor), Alan Williams (ankle) and Shabazz Napier (hamstring) also all sat out Monday.
The Nets intend to get a good look at D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie playing together this preseason, trying to decide if they can coexist in the same backcourt.
“Between them I’ve seen two guys that get along. They’re compatible,” Atkinson said. “They can play together, which you’ll see some of that. You’ll see them play together. They played together a fair amount last year.”
Russell said he’s matured since his stint with the Lakers, but his biggest improvement has been physical.
“Mindset, I think I definitely matured in so many ways, defensively, offensively, but my body, I think that was [the key],” Russell said. “The sky is the limit once guys get their body right in this league.”
Knee surgery robbed him of two months last season, something he says serves as motivation.
“For sure,” said Russell, adding that going into a contract year is added incentive. “Always, always.”
Musa made his debut with two points in 10:53 minutes of action.
“It was good. I didn’t expect it. But I came ready. You have to be when you’re a rookie, ready all the time to step in and perform,” Musa said. “I’m glad I participated, for my first points in the NBA and especially about the victory.”