Dec 14, 2012, 8:17 PM EDT
Brook Lopez returned to the Nets starting lineup on Friday night against the Pistons, after missing the last seven games with a foot injury.
Brooklyn struggled with Lopez out, losing five of those seven contests.
It appears that Lopez will have a minutes limit initially to see how he responds to the activity, and to make sure there’s no chance of re-aggravating the injury. It also doesn’t appear as though Lopez will be held out of back-to-back situations.
Nets coach Avery Johnson said Lopez will “probably play no more than half the game.” Johnson is not ruling Lopez out of Saturday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls.
“We’ll see how he recovers,” Johnson said. “Then we’ll talk about tomorrow after tonight’s game.”
Lopez is averaging 18.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks on the season, but the points and rebounds were essentially replaced by the surprising play of Andray Blatche, who got the start while Lopez was out.
Defensively, however, the Nets were far worse without Lopez. They gave up over nine more points per game and allowed opponents to shoot five percentage points better from the field in his absence.