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Nets Brook Lopez breaks foot, out indefinitely after surgery

Dec 22, 2011, 2:01 PM EDT

New Jersey Nets v Atlanta Hawks Getty Images

The Nets just cannot catch a break. Well, not a good one.

Brook Lopez – their quality starting center and the anchor of their proposed trade package with Orlando for Dwight Howard — has a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone in his foot and will have surgery on it Friday, the team announced.

No time frame for his returns is yet set, however the Nets think he could be back within six weeks, reports Adrain Wojnarowski of Yahoo. That seems wildly optimistic, other players who have had this type of situation are usually out for at least three months.

The timing matters because the trade deadline is March 15. The Nets were one of three teams Howard said he would sign an extension with (the Lakers and the Mavericks are the others) and so long as the are on that list the Nets have a chance. But to ge a deal done now will likely require multiple teams (it already did, that just got more complex).

There are other concerns for the Nets, too. No Lopez — especially if he is out for the season — is going to make it much harder to keep Deron Williams happy and get him to sign an extension and lead the Nets into Brooklyn next year.

The injury happened in the first half of Wednesday’s preseason game between the Nets and Knicks, tweets Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. It didn’t seem that severe and Lopez played through it, only postgame X-rays determined the severity.

This really sets an already struggling Nets team back because Lopez was key to their offense. Last season the a 23-year-old center averaged 20.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Lopez had not missed one game in his first three years in the league.

Bondy adds that Nets GM Billy King is not looking for an immediate replacement. Right. He will be soon enough. Although right now he is probably still in shock.

  1. leearmon - Dec 22, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    To call Brook Lopez aka Eddy Curry 2.0 a “quality starting center” is a bit of a stretch, but as you point out the bigger issue is will Orlando trade Dwight to Jersey now. If he’s going to miss a considerable amount of time then you would have to imagine Otis Smith would have pause on making this deal. Do the Lakers now swoop in and try to trade for D12 seeing as though their team looks completely awful. It will be very interesting.

    • leib15 - Dec 22, 2011 at 2:22 PM

      Are you kidding?! Eddie Curry? Lopez isn’t a great defender, but you could certainly make the argument that he is a top 5 center (granted a shallow position these days). Brook Lopez career averages: 17.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.7 bpg. Seems legit to me. Oh and Lopez has played 246 games in 3 seasons, Curry 511 in 9. Do the math Lopez averages about 25 games more a season.

      • leearmon - Dec 22, 2011 at 2:31 PM

        Well if you’re going to throw stats around, Ill up the ante. Advanced stats show that while Brook is a much better passer than Fat Eddy, Curry was a far efficient scorer.

        http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=curryed01&y1=2008&p2=lopezbr01&y2=2011

        Obviously they both are horrible rebounders and blockers for 7 footers. And you’re correct about Brook’s health. To this point Lopez has been more durable, yet this article is centered around Lopez needing surgery that might put him out an entire year. Offensive WS are almost identical, and although Eddy was an atrocious defender, his defensive WS is better than Brooks. Per 36 shows that Eddy also scores more than Brook with a higher TS% and its clear, they are essentially the same person, with slightly different strengths but identical weaknesses.

      • leearmon - Dec 22, 2011 at 2:33 PM

        And under no circumstance is Lopez a top 5 center. Dwight, Chandler, M. Gasol, A. Bynum, D. Jordan, Nene , R. Hibbert (Thats 7 right there) are all clearly better than Brook

      • leib15 - Dec 22, 2011 at 3:11 PM

        Hibbert, Chandler, Jordan? Certainly better defenders but all around better centers? Regardless, let’s say he isn’t top five, he is certainly a top ten center. All things considered, Curry is neck and neck with Mbenga for worst center in the league.

      • trey14jewels - Dec 23, 2011 at 12:26 AM

        Bogut, Noah, and Horford are all better than Lopez too. He really isn’t even top 10…

      • trey14jewels - Dec 23, 2011 at 12:32 AM

        Al Jefferson too…

      • leib15 - Dec 23, 2011 at 9:15 AM

        Leearmon, in what way is Lopez not a good shot blocker? He averages nearly two a game for his career. He is slow and not a great on ball defender, but on the contrary he is a very decent shot blocker.

      • leib15 - Dec 23, 2011 at 9:35 AM

        Trey, let us not knit pick on exactly which centers are better than he is, the point is plenty of teams would be glad if he were their starting center. Also, depending on a teams needs, Lopez can be much more valuable than a lot of these guys. Take Noah for example. He is a perfect fit for the Bulls that already have a legit post scorer (Boozer), and Noah’s athleticism compliments DRose driving to the rim. But put Noah on the Nets and he is much less valuable. If the Nets would trade Lopez for Noah/Hibbert/Bogut/Jefferson/Jordan/Chandler, we would all think they’re nuts!

  2. leib15 - Dec 22, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    First Jamal Charles, now this! I have the worst fantasy luck!

  3. khandor - Dec 22, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    The Nets do NOT need to find a quality replacement Center for Brook Lopez. In sharp contrast … What the Nets actually need to do is lose as many games as possible this season … while still keeping Deron Williams actively engaged with the possibility of New Jersey re-introducing Brook Lopez back into their line-up prior to the start of the 2012-2013 regular season campaign, in addition to the 2012 No. 1 [overall] Draft Pick, AND at least one other high end UFA next summer.

  4. yankeesjetsknicksrangers - Dec 22, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    Seriously how many people are going to show up on opening night for the Nets, 5-7 thousand?

    They aren’t getting D12, Magic wouldn’t trade for Lopez now (even though they would get a lottery pick now) and the Nets lose all those picks they gave up for Deron, who wants to get the hell out of there by now.

  5. test2402 - Dec 22, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    The nets should pickup Tim Tebow.

  6. chargerdillon - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    As a Laker fan let me start by saying AHAHAHAHAHAHA YESSSSSSS YESSSSSSS DWIGHT IS OURS! OUR PRECIOUS! OUR PRECIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    With that said, the 2 biggest problems for any bigman are their knees and their feet. If i were Orlando and I were looking to get something rather than nothing, I wouldnt trade with either the Nets or Lakers. I don’t have any more faith in Bynum than I do in Lopez. As a Lakers fan I hope this helps the Lakers get Dwight and start another dynasty run.

    As a fan of the business of basketball, you need to get something for Dwight, but it shouldnt be damaged goods and those are the only offers on the table.

  7. okcallday - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    Indefinitely*.

    I’ll proof read your articles for $5 per post…seems like you need it, Kurt.

    • savvybynature - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:38 PM

      I know right? The ‘a’ and the ‘i’ are on opposite sides of the keyboard. Typos are one thing but illiteracy is a serious problem, especially for a writer :)

  8. passerby23 - Dec 23, 2011 at 1:34 AM

    @leearmon, leib15, trey14jewels

    Howard, Bynum, and Bogut are clearly better overall centres than Lopez.

    Nene? Not so sure about that. He’s a career 10 and 5 guy who is an average free throw shooter and hardly blocks anything.

    Horford? We can call him a centre, but he’s really a power forward playing centre.

    DeAndre Jordan? You can hardly say he’s arrived yet, but he has great potential.

    Hibbert? Needs to be more consistent. For a guy that big, his shooting percentages are absurdly low.

    Al Jefferson? Poor defender and has played on nothing but losing teams throughout his career.

    Chandler? Superior defender and rebounder, but limited offensive skills. I think Noah fits into this category.

    I think you could throw Andrea Bargnani into this debate. Would probably take Lopez though.

    Lopez is a top 5 centre. It’s not the Shaq, Ewing, Robinson, Olajuwon, Daugherty, Smits era anymore. Quality centres are hard to come by.

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