by Ryne Nelson

When it comes to broken pinkies, Yi Jianlian is no Kobe Bryant. And it’s somewhat of a sad thing too, since Yi has been on a mini-tear as of late.

Yi returned to Milwaukee for the first time since he and Bobby Simmons were traded  for Richard Jefferson this summer. Yi sustained the injury in the third quarter after putting down an alley-oop. Dave D’Alessandro of The Star-Ledgerhas the report:

When they retired to the locker room, the Nets learned that Yi Jianlian — the guy traded for Jefferson, and the guy who actually outplayed him last night — had broken his right pinkie finger and will be lost to the team for at least three or four weeks.

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“It happens. Just take my time, I’ll come back,” said Yi, who had 16 points in 25 minutes, playing with surprising poise despite being booed on his touches early in the game.

This is one of those injuries that came at exactly the wrong time. D’Alessandro pointed out that the Nets can’t afford to suffer any more injuries during the historically telling month before All-Star.

Forget about Yi’s chances of starting in the mid-season classic. Those hopes all are now gone with the 6-11 forward sitting in street clothes. The fact of the matter is the Nets desperately needs Yi if they hope keep their Playoff hopes alive.

The Yi seemed to be coming into his own. Now we’ll have to wait about a month to determine if he’ll be for real.