The rafters are a great place to watch for injuries

The Brooklyn Paper
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Editor’s note: Welcome to the first edition of “Flagrant Fowl,” by our new Nets columnist Crummy the Pigeon. You may remember Crummy from this summer, when Brooklyn’s home team canned its ill-conceived mascot Brooklyn Knight and our readers christened our venerable, irritable sports critic his replacement in a poll. Now that the season has started up again, team honchos say they have no plans to come up with a new costumed cheerleader, so Crummy is ruling the roost.

Remember a couple of years ago when Barclays Center management had some idea about how a game ticket could be used as a MetroCard to take the subway to and from the arena when the Nets are playing? Maybe it was the other way around, a MetroCard that would double as a game ticket? I may be a chain-smoking pigeon, but even I thought that sounded like a bird-brained scheme.

Fast-forward to this week, when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority introduced a “NetroCard” to celebrate the start of our Nets’ 2014-15 season featuring — wait for it — a picture of Nets stars Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Deron Williams and Kevin Garnett. Not exactly the innovation in game-day transit we were promised, but these fancy new slivers of plastic adorning Brooklyn sidewalks should really tie my winter nest together.

I like a lot of things about November: sifting though post-Halloween candy wrappers, laughing at children shivering as they walk to school unprepared for the sudden temperature drop, watching the young scruff-stafarians in Greenpoint try growing mustaches. My cousin Sandy (known to Brooklyn’s baseball fans as the handsome, beaked face of the Cyclones) winters in Florida, says he can’t stand the cold. I say it builds character.

But since we got a basketball team here, November has also become synonymous with my “Creaky-Ass Brooklyn Nets Injury Watch.” In 2012, Lopez’s right foot lasted until Nov. 30, when the big lug from Stanford limped off the court against Boston. He missed the next seven games, and Brooklyn lost five of them.

Last season, Deron Williams’s ankles got him to Nov. 15, when he went down in the first quarter of a game against Phoenix. The Nets lost nine of the next 12, and D-Will came back just in time for the aforementioned Big Lug to break his right foot, knocking him out for the season.

So when Lopez’s right foot flared up again during preseason this year, causing him to miss the first two games of the season last week, I was ready to fly off the handle (I thought better of it, having sprained a wing during a gentleman’s disagreement at a Gowanus watering hole a few weeks back). Even though BL was back on Monday, looking like the All-Star we know he can be, I needed a drink and a drag every time he came close to making contact with anyone. Or when he jumped. Hopefully my lungs and liver can hold up through this November.

Speaking of which: spare a buck for a beer?

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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