Paul Pierce will be out two to four weeks with a broken bone in his right hand, the biggest loss yet for the injury plagued Brooklyn Nets.
He has been diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture of the third metacarpal of his right, shooting hand, the team said Monday. The forward was hurt Friday in the first half of a loss at Houston.
Pierce has struggled badly in his first season in Brooklyn, but the disappointing Nets can hardly afford another injury. They just got back all-star centre Brook Lopez but have still been playing without starting point guard Deron Williams and key reserves Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry.
Pierce is on pace for the worst season of his 16-year career. His average of 12.4 points and .368 shooting percentage would easily be the lowest ever for the No. 2 career scorer in Boston Celtics history.
The Celtics dealt Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets in a summer blockbuster that hasn't worked out nearly the way the Nets hoped.
They are 5-12, barely ahead of the New York Knicks for last place in the Atlantic Division. Joe Johnson is the only starter on a roster worth more than $180 million US in salaries and luxury taxes who has appeared in every game.
Pierce will miss the first matchup against the Knicks on Thursday. Next week, he was scheduled to face the Celtics for the first time Tuesday and former coach Doc Rivers, now with the Clippers, two nights later.
The 36-year-old Pierce has made just 27 per cent of his 3-point attempts, including a potential tying miss in the closing seconds of a loss to the Lakers last Wednesday.