Friday night was the best of times and the worst of times for Devin Harris. He scored 38 points to lead the Nets from 14 down to a 103-96 win, ruining Allen Iverson's Pistons debut in the process. Somewhere along the way, though, Harris sprained his left ankle. It didn't slow him down Friday, but he missed Saturday's loss to Indiana.
Now, it appears that Harris won't be back until Friday at the earliest. He's definitely not playing against Miami this evening, and Lawrence Frank told the Newark Star-Ledger that there's a "pretty good chance" he won't be in the lineup on Wednesday against the Pacers either.
That's a shame for the Nets, because Harris's development may be the single most important thing for their season. If he proves to be an elite, or potentially elite, point guard, the Nets have made a big step forward in the rebuilding process that started when they acquired Harris for Jason Kidd. An injured ankle can cause problems for a long time, even after the player is ready to get back on the court, and such problems would inhibit both Harris's development and the Nets quest to return to relevance.
Frank has already been giving more minutes to veterans at the expense of the younger Nets. If Harris isn't in the lineup, there won't be any forward movement for the franchise, because Frank will simply go with the players who stand the best chance of picking up whatever wins may be possible.
That's getting ahead of ourselves, but it's only because Harris was so impressive on Friday night. He got to the free-throw line 24 times, continually finding his way into traffic thanks to his enviable mix of size and speed, and turned the ball over only once in 39 minutes. The Pistons may have downgraded the intensity of their point guard when they shipped Chauncey Billups to Denver, but Harris's evisceration of an experienced, playoff-tested team can't be ignored.