The New Jersey Nets hit the practice court for the first time since returning from their trip to London on Tuesday. There was one very important player missing: Deron Williams.
The newest member of the Nets has left the team to be with his wife, who is due to give birth to the couple's fourth child.
Williams will likely miss Wednesday's game against the Golden State Warriors and Friday's showdown against Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers. He could be back with the team on Saturday, though the Nets don't play again after Friday until Monday against the Boston Celtics, giving Williams a little more wiggle room.
He may have been the most vital player missing, but head coach Avery Johnson was also working without Quinton Ross, Johan Petro and Damion James. Ross is dealing with the same back issues that prevented him from making the trip overseas, while Petro is sick and James is still recovering from the concussion he suffered in London.
There's never a good time for a team to lose their best player, though this seems like particularly bad timing as the Nets attempt to make one last dash for the playoffs. As long of a shot as it may be, Williams has said a playoff push is at the top of his list this season and a winning home stand would have given the team some hope during their final 20 games.