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Nets' Brook Lopez misses practice, will not play against Pistons

Nets center Brook Lopez (11) takes a shot

Nets center Brook Lopez (11) takes a shot during the second day of training camp at the practice center on Sept. 28, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Andrew Theodorakis

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Any hope the Nets had of center Brook Lopez making his season debut Saturday night against the Detroit Pistons were dashed Friday when the team took the practice floor and Lopez was not with them.

Coach Lionel Hollins said Lopez, out more than two weeks with a mild sprain of his right foot, will not play Saturday night.

Hollins had been optimistic that Lopez -- who had three surgeries on the foot before suffering the latest injury in a preseason game Oct. 15 -- would be back for the opener or by the second game of the season. But after taking part in non-contact practices Monday and Tuesday, Lopez didn't play Wednesday night in Boston. The fact that he didn't practice Friday suggests a possible setback.

"When he doesn't come out and practice, I'm not optimistic anymore," said Hollins, who added he doesn't know when Lopez will return. "He just has pain. He was having pain before and looked like he was going better, but now he can't. It's not my call of when he does practice or when he doesn't, so when they say he's not going today -- OK."

Without Lopez against the Celtics, the Nets stumbled to a 121-105 loss. Second-year center Mason Plumlee started in his place, got into early foul trouble and played only 11:29, scoring four points and getting four rebounds. Boston amassed 62 points in the paint. Plumlee will start again tonight, Hollins said.

"I can't get in foul trouble," Plumlee said. "A couple of 'em were out of position, so if I'm where I'm supposed to be, I won't pick up some of those cheap fouls."

The Nets realize that neutralizing Pistons center Andre Drummond Saturday night in Auburn Hills, Michigan, will be difficult. "It's gonna be a huge challenge," Joe Johnson said. "Detroit pretty much had their way with us last year, especially in the paint. So to give up 60-plus points against Boston in the paint -- against a team that didn't really post up -- it's going to be a tough game."

He said the biggest key to correcting what went wrong in Boston is communication.

"Guys have to know what spots they're supposed to be in, and we have to know who we're helping for, and then collectively, as a group, we all got to be on the same page," Johnson said. "We haven't been on the same page, I don't know -- it was a few times that we were on the same page the other night, but for the most part . . . That's why they were getting wide-open layups, dunks -- you can't have that."

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