Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Nene's Knee: Hilario leaves season opener with "sprained" ACL

During the first quarter of Denver’s opening night game against the Spurs, Nuggets PF Nene Hilario crumpled awkwardly to the court on a routine drive to the basket and had to be helped off by trainers.

After a preliminary examination, team doctors said that Nene had “at least” a sprained anterior cruciate ligament. Doctors are generally a pretty precise bunch, and when they use terms like “at least,” it’s usually because they know something more is wrong. Remember Amare Stoudemire’s “exploratory” knee surgery?

It is too early to say that Nene’s injury is definitely an ACL tear, but based on the video—the injury was unprovoked—and early reports, it seems like a distinct possibility. This would be devastating not only for the Nuggets, but for fantasy owners who drafted Nene assuming (correctly, in all likelihood) that starting center Marcus Camby will miss significant time this season due to injury.

Most importantly, though, it would be a shame for Nene who, upon getting word from the Nuggets on Monday that his contract would not be extended replied: “That’s OK. I’m going to play great this season.” Nene, who was seeking a deal similar to the six-year, $64 million deal that Sam Dalembert signed with Sixers last season, would have to settle for substantially less if he misses the entire season due to injury.

This news should also put a chill on rumors that Nene will be traded to the Chicago Bulls.

Cross your fingers that tomorrow’s reevaluation of Nene’s knee brings good news for one of the NBA’s most exciting and athletic young post players.


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