ORLANDO, Fla. – Brook Lopez is banged up. Again.
The Nets announced Thursday that their starting center has a mild sprain in his right foot, an injury he suffered sometime in Wednesday’s 95-83 win over the Celtics at TD Garden. The primary cause for concern stems from the fact that it’s the same foot Lopez injured on two separate occasions last season, which caused him to play in just six games.
Lopez missed the first 32 games of the 2011-12 campaign with a break in the fifth metatarsal of his right foot and returned briefly for those half-dozen contests, only to suffer a small break in his ankle in the Nets’ March 4 win against the Bobcats in Charlotte.
In that game, Lopez turned his ankle, and the Nets initially described it as just a sprain. However, a few weeks later, they announced a CT Scan of Lopez’s foot revealed a line that signaled a small break, and he sat out the final 28 games of the lockout-shortened season.
But Lopez, who signed a four-year, $60-million deal in the offseason following the Nets’ failed pursuit of Dwight Howard, has worked hard to get himself back healthy during the offseason and seemed confident he had gotten over that proverbial hump. The 7-footer played just 11 seconds in the fourth quarter Wednesday night and finished with nine points and 10 rebounds.
Following the game, the Celtics sent a walking boot over to the Nets’ locker room, but it was unclear whom it was for. Turns out it was for Lopez after all and the Nets won’t have him back until at least next week, meaning the earliest he’d play would be Tuesday when the Nets host the Thunder at the Barclays Center.
With Lopez out, Avery Johnson will likely look to Andray Blatche. The reserve center had 17 points and 13 rebounds off the bench in the Nets' victory in Boston, continuing his stretch of solid play.