Nets center Brook Lopez is defended by forward Mason Plumlee...

Nets center Brook Lopez is defended by forward Mason Plumlee during a scrimmage on the fifth day of training camp in East Rutherford, N.J. on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Call it another small step toward getting back on the right foot.

About two hours before tipoff Saturday night, there was Brook Lopez out on the Palace at Auburn Hills floor, getting a pregame warm-up in and testing out his right foot. Even if Lopez wasn't ready to play against the Pistons, it had to be a welcome sight for the Nets.

Then again . . .

"No, it's not encouraging. He's not playing," coach Lionel Hollins said with a wry smile. "So to see him out there means nothing to me right now. I'm happy that he's out there and he's able to go out there and do stuff and he's not in a cast and all that. But he's not playing."

That could change soon, though.

Lopez, who has practiced only twice without contact since suffering what the team termed a mild mid-foot sprain on Oct. 16, told reporters at Saturday's shootaround that he plans to practice Sunday, and if all goes well, he hopes to play in Monday night's home opener against a Thunder team that will be without injured stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.

The pain in Lopez's surgically repaired foot apparently is subsiding. "I can run on it, I can wash it, I can swim with it -- all that stuff," he said. "I'm thrilled. I don't like sitting out. It's probably my least favorite thing in the world. I want to be back out there with my guys, help them out and be there for my teammates."


Beginning the season with two consecutive road games is rare for the Nets. This is the first time they've done so since 1994-95, when they tipped off the season with the Texas Triangle against the Rockets, Mavericks and Spurs.

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