Kenny Atkinson admitted the Brooklyn Nets have lost "the heart and soul" of their team after Caris LeVert suffered a serious lower leg injury on Monday.
LeVert hurt his right leg while contesting a drive to the basket during the Nets' game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The incident, which happened during the closing stages of the second quarter at Target Center, left players from both teams visibly shaken, with the shooting guard taken off the court on a gurney.
The Timberwolves went on to win 120-113, though Brooklyn coach Atkinson insisted the final score did not matter.
"He's the heart and soul of our programme so a really tough blow, I feel for him," he said.
"He's had a fantastic start to the season, he's obviously made a huge jump. I just know if anybody's coming back from this, knowing the human, the character, the person, the player - he'll come back from this.
"A tough, tough blow for the Nets. Our only thoughts are with him, nothing else matters. The game doesn't matter.
"It's a devastating blow for us, for him. That's all I really want to say about this. Our thoughts should be with him and his recovery and I really don't want to talk about the game or anything else."
Our guy.pic.twitter.com/DLLZWuivRF— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) November 13, 2018
LeVert was traded to Brooklyn after being selected with the 20th pick by the Indiana Pacers in the 2016 NBA draft. He is averaging a career-high 18.4 points in his third season in the league.
"It's not something you want to see, especially in sports, but it's something you do see and it's unfortunate," Nets point guard D'Angelo Russell said after the game.
"Our prayers are with Caris and we're praying for a speedy recovery.
"That's our brother. You don't want to see that for anybody. For us to see our brother go down, that we're in practice with every day, on flights with every day, it's devastating to the stomach.
"We can keep our prayers for him and step up and try to build off of it."
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