MINNESOTA • There were no words spoken in the away team's locker room at half-time during the Brooklyn Nets' 120-113 road loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
But tears were shed.
Such was the shock suffered by the Brooklyn players during their National Basketball Association (NBA) game at the Target Centre on Monday night.
Forward Caris LeVert, who has overcome three foot operations to become one of the team's most promising players, suffered a gruesome right-leg injury with 3.7 seconds left in the first half.
The full extent of his injury was not immediately known. His right leg appeared to be bent inward at the ankle after he landed awkwardly while attempting a block.
The 24-year-old was taken to a Minneapolis hospital for a full evaluation, according to the Nets.
Some players could be seen in tears as medical and training staff prepared LeVert to leave the court on a stretcher.
"There were really just no words," Nets forward Joe Harris said after the game.
"We didn't talk even when we came in at half-time. There's nothing really to be said. You could just feel it, the emotions from everybody. Guys were crying coming in, it was really that horrific just to see."
The injury conjured up visions of the ghastly leg injuries suffered by Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics and Isaiah Canaan of the Phoenix Suns last season, and Paul George, then with the Indiana Pacers, during a USA Basketball scrimmage in 2014.
The damage was so bad that on the YES Network broadcast of the game, viewers received a lengthy caution before a replay of LeVert's injury was shown.
NBA players responded quickly to LeVert's injury with an outpouring of support on social media, including the Atlanta Hawks' Jeremy Lin, who suffered a season-ending injury with the Nets on opening night last season.
Other notable players who tweeted their well-wishes included the Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, the Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade, the Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love and Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets.
LeVert, in his third season, entered Monday's play averaging 19.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 30.8 minutes a game. He had 10 points, four rebounds and five assists at the time of the injury.
"Our only thoughts are with him. Nothing else matters. The game doesn't matter. That's it," said Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson, whose team dropped to 6-8.
"He's the heart and soul of our programme. Really tough blow."
Karl-Anthony Towns totalled 25 points and 21 rebounds as the Timberwolves (5-9) halted a five-game losing streak and overcame a season-worst 23 turnovers.
Towns posted his seventh double-double by shooting nine of 11 from the floor. He had the double-double by half-time, then posted his sixth career game with 20 points and 20 rebounds and the 55th in team history.
Jeff Teague returned after missing six games with a left-knee contusion and added 24 and 11 assists as the Wolves shot 52.5 per cent. Derrick Rose added 23 points, while Taj Gibson contributed 17.
Brooklyn's D'Angelo Russell hit a career-high nine three-pointers and led all scorers with his season-high 31 points.