Nene has set the same screen dozens of times this season, hundreds of times in his career, and emerged unscathed. But when he slid over to cut off Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jarrett Jack in an attempt to free up teammate Bradley Beal, Nene immediately felt a throbbing pain after Jack collided with his left knee.

Hobbling back on defense, Nene winced as he shouted for Marcin Gortat to foul Cavaliers backup big man Spencer Hawes to stop play. Gortat was slow to react, so Nene committed the foul himself, then slowly lowered himself to the floor, wincing and grabbing his leg with the Washington Wizards clinging to a three-point lead midway in the third quarter.

When Nene goes down and limps to the locker room in agony, the Wizards usually react with a collapse of their own. But that wouldn’t be the case Sunday night, when the Wizards clamped down defensively, Kevin Seraphin and Al Harrington filled in admirably and John Wall led the team to a 96-83 victory over the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.

“It’s too early to say, but we’re all scared. We’re hoping it’s nothing serious,” Gortat said. “It was really hard. But we’ve seen that if we play good defense, if everybody is engaged and locked in, we are a good team. We kind of forgot that Nene was missing, and we’re glad we got that win.”

Nene will have an MRI exam Monday to determine the severity of the injury.