Nets' Spencer Dinwiddie might delay right thumb surgery

NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie will need surgery to repair a right thumb injury, but he might put off the procedure and continue to play as the team makes a playoff push.

Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said Friday that team doctors, Dinwiddie and his family were still deciding on the best path forward for him.

Atkinson said Dinwiddie, 25, probably hurt his thumb several weeks ago, and that the injury grew progressively worse over time.

"I don't think it was just one instance," Atkinson said.

Atkinson said he didn't want to speculate on a potential timetable for recovery if Dinwiddie elected to undergo surgery.

The injury comes at an inopportune time for Brooklyn, which remained in sixth place in the Eastern Conference after Friday's 109-99 win over the New York Knicks. The Nets have won 19 of their past 24 games.

Dinwiddie, who signed a three-year, $34 million extension in December, has played a major role in Brooklyn's rise. He is second among NBA reserves in points per game (17.2) and assists (5.0).

The Nets are already without third-year guard Caris LeVert, who has been out since Nov. 12 after suffering a subtalar dislocation of his right foot. LeVert is expected to return this season, possibly as soon as next month.

Atkinson said Shabazz Napier will take over Dinwiddie's role during his absence. Dinwiddie will miss Friday's game against the New York Knicks as he and the organization continue to work through a path forward.

D'Angelo Russell, who is averaging 24.3 points and 7.2 assists while shooting 50 percent in his past 10 games, might take on an increased role if Dinwiddie misses significant time.

Atkinson, though, downplayed the idea that one player needed to take on more responsibility in Dinwiddie's absence.

"It's not about one guy, it's not about two guys," he said. "I feel good that we have a good team structure in place that can kind of [hold] the fort until guys get back."
Copyright © 2019 ESPN Internet Ventures. All rights reserved.