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Brook Lopez expects to fully participate in Nets' training camp

Nets center Brook Lopez signs autographs for youngsters

Nets center Brook Lopez signs autographs for youngsters during the first ever Nets Hamptons Basketball Camp at the Southampton Town Recreation Center on Aug. 29, 2014. Credit: John Roca

With relative ease, Brook Lopez crossed over and swiftly dribbled past the defender. When he reached the other end of the court, he finished the play with a tomahawk dunk.

Not bad for a guy who was cleared to start running only two weeks ago after undergoing season-ending surgery on his right foot in January.

"I think it was my first five-on-five, up-and-down-court action [since his rehab started]," Lopez said Friday, laughing. "It seemed pretty good. Those kids were making me work. I got one with that crossover. I was looking around for the cameras afterward."

There were none because it wasn't really Lopez's first five-on-five action, of course. He isn't quite ready for that. The Nets center was playing against a bunch of young kids on a small court with a basketball hoop so low that Lopez didn't have to jump to touch the top of the backboard.

All kidding aside, though, Lopez strongly believes that he'll be at the top of his game when the season starts. The very top, actually.

"I'm confident I'm going to be able to go out there and be better than I've ever been," Lopez said after he and Nets coach Lionel Hollins participated in the first Nets Hamptons Basketball Camp at the Southampton Town Recreation Center.

The 26-year-old was on his way to an outstanding season, averaging 20.7 points and shooting over 56 percent -- both career highs -- in 17 games before requiring surgery.

Lopez, who also underwent offseason surgery on his left ankle, said he "absolutely" will be able to play 35 minutes in the season opener Oct. 29 against the Celtics. He expects to fully participate in training camp when it begins in late September.

Part of Lopez's optimism, he said, stems from continuing to improve every day.

"We're doing everything possible to make the transition as easy as possible, so we're not immediately just pounding, pounding, pounding right away," Lopez said.

Hollins said it's too early to know if he will require any playing restrictions, such as minute limitations, once the season starts.

"He's healthy," Hollins said. "We'll see after training camp. We have to get through training camp first. We've got a long way to go before we start saying we're going to do this and that."

Said Lopez: "We still have a lot of time left. I'm very confident when it comes to the outlook of the season and I'm very excited."

New York Sports