EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New Jersey Nets center Nenad Krstic will miss the rest of the season because of a torn knee ligament.
The 7-footer was hurt during the third quarter of Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The team announced Saturday he had a tear of his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
Krstic caught a pass from Richard Jefferson in the lane and started to back Lakers center Kwame Brown toward the basket. But he fell to the court, clutching his knee.
Krstic is averaging 16.4 points and 6.8 rebounds this season. In his three years in the NBA with New Jersey, he has averaged 12.4 points and six rebounds.
The team did not announce when Krstic would undergo surgery.
"It is very unfortunate for Nenad as well as the team to lose a player of his magnitude," said Nets general manager Ed Stefanski. "Nenad is a wonderful young man and a tireless worker. This will be another challenge for him and I know that he will be up to the task."
Ironically, Krstic had taken last summer off from playing internationally for Serbia and Montenegro for the first time in several years in order to rest his body for the NBA season.
"I just feel so bad for him because he took the time off to rest and be ready for the season," said teammate Vince Carter. "And to prepare himself for the season and this team. It's unfortunate."