Nic Claxton Bounces Back from Ankle Sprain as Ben Simmons Remains SidelinedNovember 12, 2023
The Nets continue to get healthier — even as Ben Simmons remains out. Sunday marked the return of center Nic Claxton, who missed the previous eight games with a left ankle sprain he suffered during last month’s season opener. The 6-10 Claxton was back in the starting lineup for the Nets’ afternoon game against the Wizards at Barclays Center, giving a size boost to a Brooklyn team that started 6-7 forward Dorian Finney-Smith at center in his absence. Claxton hurt his ankle when he landed awkwardly during the third quarter of that Oct. 25 loss to Cleveland, suffering a high ankle sprain. Claxton participated in a scrimmage with the G League affiliate Long Island Nets, representing a significant step in his progress. Vaughn said Sunday the center’s return helps the Nets’ offense, too, due to his ability to add “thrust to the rim.”
Claxton’s return comes a game after forward Cam Johnson, who suffered a left calf strain in the season opener, rejoined the Nets lineup for Friday’s loss in Boston. Simmons, meanwhile, missed his third game in a row Sunday with what the team is now calling a left hip contusion. The injury interrupts the playmaking point guard’s attempt to return to form after dealing with an injured back the previous two seasons. The Nets are also without Cam Thomas, who sprained his left ankle during Wednesday’s win over the Clippers. Diving Into Poole’s Game Entering Sunday, the 2-6 Wizards ranked fifth in the NBA by averaging 119 points per game — but last in surrendering 126.5 to opponents. They made a marquee addition over the offseason by trading with Golden State for the offensive-minded Jordan Poole, who averaged 17 points through his first eight games, all starts, with Washington.