Nets’ Mirza Teletovic diagnosed with blood clots in lungs

By on January 24, 2015

Nets forward Mirza Teletovic will remain in L.A. hospital to undergo treatment for blood clots.Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images Nets forward Mirza Teletovic will remain in L.A. hospital to undergo treatment for blood clots.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Nets were hit with depressing and scary news Friday, as forward Mirza Teletovic was diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs and will miss the remainder of the season.

The 29-year-old Bosnian, who played a key role in Brooklyn’s run to the Eastern Conference semifinals last season, left Thursday’s defeat to the Clippers in the second quarter after experiencing “shortness of breath.” He was shuttled to a hospital in L.A. before returning to the team hotel, apparently unaware of the unfortunate diagnosis.

Members of the team were also under the impression that Teletovic’s condition wasn’t serious.

“I had a small problem,” Teletovic tweeted a few hours after the game. “But now everything is ok.”

However, the tests — which weren’t released until later — told a different story. According to the Nets, a CT scan, among other exams, revealed a “bilateral pulmonary embolus.” He will be administered blood thinners while hospitalized in L.A., and is scheduled to return to New York only after being cleared to travel.

Blood clots are potentially fatal, especially if they are left untreated.

“He came to the bench and said something was wrong with him,” coach Lionel Hollins said. “So he asked me to take him out.”

Teletovic, who is married with twins born last year, has struggled this season following a breakout campaign under Jason Kidd, shooting just 38% in 22.3 minutes per game. Signed to a three-year, $ 10 million deal in 2012, Teletovic — a favorite of ownership — will become a free agent after the season.

His game began to tail off at the end of December, starting a stretch during which he missed 89 of his 126 shots over 17 games.

“Our first thoughts are with Mirza and his family,” GM Billy King said in a statement. “I have visited with Mirza this morning and he is in good spirits as he begins his treatment and recovery.”

The Nets had touted Teletovic as a key part of their future, a justification for letting go of Paul Pierce. He was deep on the bench in his first season under Avery Johnson and P.J. Carlesimo, until finding his niche last season as a 3-point gunslinger and instant offense off the bench.

Without Teletovic, Mason Plumlee and 38-year-old Kevin Garnett will have to eat up the minutes at power forward. Rookie Cory Jefferson has also played at that spot. Unlike last season when Brook Lopez went down with a fractured foot, the Nets cannot file for a Disabled Players Exception because the Jan. 15 deadline has passed.

“On the basketball side, we will explore all options,” King said.

The Nets (18-25) are on the brink of collapse, losers of nine of their last 11 games with an upcoming 10-game stretch that includes seven opponents that currently have a .643 winning percentage or better.

They get a one-game respite Saturday against the Jazz (15-28), but no opponent is a safety net for these Nets — not after they lost at home to the tanking Sixers about two weeks ago.

Brooklyn is also coming off Thursday’s embarrassing 39-point defeat in L.A., where Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan combined for an uncontested dunkfest.

“We don’t have an identity, period,” Joe Johnson said. “Maybe that’s why we’re so inconsistent.”

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.
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