The Brooklyn Nets have begun systematically rebuilding the franchise, revamping the front office and the on-court talent. Sean Marks was appointed as general manager and Kenny Atkinson took over as head coach. The medical staff was not immune to the sweeping changes as long-time athletic trainer Tim Walsh was let go. Walsh was well-respected and a three-time recipient of the Jim O’Toole Athletic Trainer of the Year. His final year was marked by two significant injuries as rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson missed 50 games with a fractured talus and veteran point guard Jarret Jack was sidelined for the final 49 games with a torn ACL. These two cases accounted for over half of Brooklyn’s missed games last year with an additional 50 games attributed to Chris McCullough’s preexisting ACL injury.
Former Navy SEALS Human Performance Manager Zach Weatherford was named the director of player performance and Lloyd Beckett was appointed as Walsh’s replacement. The new medical team will be challenged early on as the front office has shown a willingness to gamble on talented but injured indivdiuals. Just like McCullough in the 2015 Draft, the Nets invested a first round pick in a player with a known injury. The team traded Thaddeus Young for the 20th overall pick and selected guard Caris Levert. Levert , a once touted prospect, spent the majority of his time at Michigan sidelined with chronic foot problems that required three separate surgeries. The most recent surgery included a bone graft on his fractured fifth metatarsal as well as the implantation of new surgical hardware. However Brooklyn is confident Levert will be able to recover in time, particularly since Levert’s surgeon was Dr. Martin O’Malley, a Nets team physician.
Weatherford and Beckett started their tenure in the new state-of-the-art HSS Training Center the team unveiled last February. Together, along with the other members of the newly formed performance team, they will look to return the franchise to relevance by insuring the talent, both young and old, stays on the court and out of the athletic training room.