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Nets' Brook Lopez happy foot injury just a mild sprain, not a fracture

Darren Collison of Sacramento Kings drives against Brook

Darren Collison of Sacramento Kings drives against Brook Lopez of Brooklyn Nets during the 2014 NBA Global Games on October 15, 2014 in Beijing, China. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Despite Brook Lopez's troublesome injury history, the Nets center's latest foot injury wasn't enough to dramatically raise general manager Billy King's concern level.

Even with Lopez sidelined for the next 10 to 14 days after suffering what the Nets termed a mild right midfoot sprain in the first quarter of Wednesday's preseason game in China, King isn't fretting about it much. Why?

"Because it's not broken," he said Friday. "The doctors, they did the CT scan yesterday and X-rays, and it was negative for a fracture, and so they diagnosed it as a mild foot sprain."

So imagine Lopez's reaction once the physicians delivered the cheery news, given that he has worked his way back from surgeries on both feet and has had at least three separate procedures on his right foot since 2011.

Lopez said he never shut his eyes on the 14-hour flight home from China. He didn't exactly need a pair of toothpicks to keep his eyelids propped open when he arrived at his apartment, either.

"I stayed up all night, all the way until I left for my appointment at 1:45 the next day," Lopez said. "So I was definitely thinking about it."

Let's just say Lopez was downright giddy at the diagnosis as he celebrated with team trainer Tim Walsh.

"Timmy and I were hugging," Lopez said with a hearty laugh, "jumping up and down."

Hearing that there was no structural damage and no fractures probably had the avid comic book reader feeling as though he stumbled upon a rare copy of the first edition of the original Batman series. This wasn't Philadelphia all over again. No surgery. Just prescribed treatment and rest.

Lopez's availability for the Oct. 29 season opener is in jeopardy, meaning Nets coach Lionel Hollins might have to make contingency plans. If Lopez, who has averaged 18.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in three preseason games, cannot play, Mirza Teletovic will start at power forward and Kevin Garnett will slide over to center.

"It's not the same thing," Lopez said. "We found it's a different spot, so we are just taking our time with it, making sure it isn't anything. But we are happy and thankful that it is not the same thing."

Hollins said the Nets have enough interchangeable pieces to make do without Lopez for now, and point guard Deron Williams noted they can use himself, shooting guard Joe Johnson or forward-center Mason Plumlee in the low post. Forward Bojan Bogdanovic also has shown some ability to operate on the low blocks in the preseason.

"Even though I'll play with the guys we have, I'd rather play with the guys I want to have," Hollins said. "So certainly, I was happy to hear that he's able to play and is going to be OK."

Lopez's minutes won't necessarily be restricted when he returns.

"I know there's a history with him," King said. "But it's not something where you put him in a titanium boot and put him in a bubble and say OK. If that's the case, then we should not play him at all. It happened, it's a mild sprain. That's the positive thing about it. It's a mild sprain and he'll be back playing."

Whether that'll happen by Oct. 29, when the Nets tip off their season against the Celtics in Boston, is unclear. Lopez sure hopes it does. He's already thinking about that night.

"I do want to play," Lopez said. "Again, that's not up to me, I don't think. I have to tell them how I feel and everything. I would like to get some minutes in the opener, but I don't see it as being any long-term issue by any means."

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