Brook Lopez sat on a training table in Wells Fargo Arena Friday night, his headphones draped around his neck, a disbelieving look in his eyes.
Lopez was having the best season of his career – an NBA All-Star season.
Averaging 20.7 points on 58-percent shooting with six rebounds and 1.76 blocks, the 7-foot Lopez had been so good that Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd decided earlier this month to run the offense through the big man.
Brook Lopez’s place as one of the game’s most skilled big men was upon us. And then it wasn’t.
Nets G.M. Billy King announced yesterday that Lopez would be lost for the season after breaking the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot for the third time in his five-plus seasons.
The injury occurred early in the fourth quarter of the Nets 121-120 overtime loss to the 76ers in Philadelphia, on what appeared to be a relatively benign play.
He was fouled from behind by Thaddeus Young and went down because the two got tangled up, not because of excruciating pain.
Lopez possibly could play again this season but the Nets aren’t going to jeopardize their 25-year-old center’s future by rushing him back.
He’ll be evaluated Monday by Dr. Christopher Ahmad and Dr. Riley Williams and a course of treatment will be implemented.
King, who said in training camp that this season is the window for the Nets to win, isn’t backing away. Although he said no deal is in the works to try to find a player that can softer the blow of losing Lopez, King is considering all options to fortify the Nets.
“When you get an injury like this, everybody calls you,’’ said King. “Every agent that has a big guy on the sideline calls and they offer their services.’’
“But we haven't been in discussions with a lot of teams up to this point. There’s no imminent move, we’re not looking to make any imminent move, trade-wise.’’
“We’ve got 14 other guys that can step up, but we’ll continue to discuss possibilities if we can make our team better.’’
The Nets (9-17) host the Indiana Pacers Monday night in Barclays Center. The Pacers were 21-5 going into Sunday night’s game against the Boston Celtics. Indiana beat the Nets, 96-91 earlier this season.
The Pacers have one of the league’s best young centers in Roy Hibbert. He had 15 points and 11 rebounds in that win. Lopez had 16 points and seven boards. The Nets might slide power forward Kevin Garnett to center and try Mirza Teletovic at the power forward.
Lopez broke the same bone twice in 2011. He had surgery this past summer to replace a bent screw. He came to camp bigger and stronger (290 pounds) than ever before.
“Disappointed for Brook,’’ said King. “As an organization, losing a player like that hurts, but mainly for Brook Lopez. He’s been through a lot.’’
“I know Brook. He’s going to do everything he can to be back on the court. So now we’ve gotta let him meet with the doctors and let him figure it out from there.’’