As if the Nets weren't struggling enough, they're really in for a tall task now that they'll likely have to play without Brook Lopez for the rest of the season.
In a devastating turn of events, Lopez broke the fifth metatarsal in right foot in the Nets' overtime loss to the 76ers at the Wachovia Center Friday night. Although the Nets say they will issue further updates next week after consulting with team physicians, the preliminary indications are Lopez is done for the season.
This latest blow marks the fourth time in the last three years that Lopez has suffered a serious foot injury. Lopez had a bent screw in his surgically repaired right foot replaced after last season, a move at the time the Nets said was proactive. That procedure represented the third time in 17 months that Lopez had surgery on that same foot.
During the lockout-shortened season in 2011, he fractured his fifth metatarsal bone in December, then refractured it after returning in late February and playing in only five games.
Lopez, averaging 20.7 points and six rebounds per game this season, appearred to injure himself late in the fourth quarter Friday. With 4:53 remaining and the Nets trailing Philadelphia 101-99, Lopez was fouled on a layup by Evan Turner. Lopez got tangled up with Thaddeus Young and both crashed to the floor, with Young falling hard on Lopez. As he briefly winced in pain, Lopez quickly grabbed his foot and rubbed the area near his big toe.
However, he stayed in the game and even played in overtime, a sign that he tried to gut it out. But now the Nets, who've never really had their full compliment of players healthy this season, have to make due without the guy who was named to his first All-Star team last season and must find ways to replace the void left by their starting center.