That night, Mikal Bridges thought his streak might be over

Mikal Bridge’s consecutive regular season hitting streak is approaching 400 – 392 to be exact. Add another 39 playoff games to that total. And that’s just the NBA. He also played 116 games straight for Villanova. He missed one game his junior year in high school and a pair of preseason games his rookie year in Phoenix.

But as he told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated in an interview published Monday, it almost ended in March against Charlotte when he injured his wrist so badly he feared he had broken it.

“I had a few things,” Bridges told Mannix. “I think one fight in Charlotte this year when I was in Brooklyn, I think I landed on my wrist, something happened in the wrist. It just kind of went away and when I lifted everything was fine. Then I came home at night and I just started getting this big heart pounding feeling on my shooting hand. All night I couldn’t sleep. I had teammates in college that broke their hands. And I’ve never done anything like that.

“And I was kind of nervous because it was so painful. I had to order freaking Tylenol and everything so I could calm it down so I could go to bed. So that moment right there, I was nervous because I thought, ‘Bro, if it’s broken, I have no choice.’ So when I woke up the next morning, it was just my wrist. And then I was like, ‘OK, let me look at this. If there’s nothing crazy, I’m just going to get that tape up and I’ll be fine “And that was the one point where I was nervous.”

Bridges also talked about pressure to keep the streak going … and whether he would try to play through a serious injury to keep it going. He wouldn’t.

“I think [the streak] getting blown up just because of how many games it’s been, but I’m not going off the streak,” he said. “I’m just more, I want to play. I just don’t want to miss a game regardless. Of course, if something is serious, I don’t want to risk anything wild to be out there. But that has nothing to do with the streak. I think it’s just me personally. I just don’t want to miss a game, whether I had a streak or not. I just never want to miss a game. I just want to be out there every time and give my team a chance to try and win a game.”

As for how he’s been able to do it, Bridges noted the role as simple luck, but he also takes care of his body.

“I think I’ve been blessed to not have any major injuries. I think that’s the biggest thing,” he told Mannix. “Other than that, just doing a lot of things to help prevent damages. Injuries happen. You can’t control them, but you can help small things to prevent them. I just try to take care of my body, lift and do all the different types of training, just to build the muscles and get my tendons and all that.”

In fact, compared to the players the Nets lost at the deadline and teammate Ben Simmons, Bridges’ streak is extraordinary. Over the last four years when Bridges wasn’t on a single injury report, Kevin Durant missed 177 games, Kyrie Irving 151 and Simmons 157 of 314.

Bridges also talked about how the timing of his trade to Brooklyn was ideal, having filled in for Devin Booker in the weeks leading up to the trade, going from the third option on the Suns to the first.

“I always tell people I was traded at the right time with pretty much the whole team out and being the guy for about a month and just going through the pain and the gains and the growth every day. Having bad games and losing a lot to finally get going and start being effective and try to win games. And then once it came to that and that’s when I got traded. So it was perfect timing. I couldn’t have been traded at a better time, ” he said.

He also had thoughts on what the Nuggets championship means, mainly that chemistry matters because patience is often a forgotten virtue in the NBA.

“It takes time. Sometimes you might see stars come together and it might not work, and then owners or GMs are quick to move on. Or players might not win early and want out,” Bridges said without mention names.

“Chemistry really matters more now. And I think that’s the biggest thing. It’s just the chemistry. The chemistry you build over the years is always the biggest thing.

“And if you watch Denver, every player knows where every guy’s supposed to be. It was second nature to them. So it’s easy to play on the court with four guys out there who know what everybody’s tendencies are and where they want to go be. There’s no thinking. You just know that if I get blown off, that guy’s going to step up for me. If I do this and that, that guy’s going to do that for me.”

Mannix spoke with Bridges as part of his latest promotion with eBay at its Collectors Club in Brooklyn, a site for sports card enthusiasts to find missing pieces for their collection. He noted that as a child, how he would search eBay for cards of his favorites, “like Kevin Durant.”

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