Lopez Relieved About X-ray, Humphries Addresses Altercation
At Friday's morning shootaround, center Brook Lopez spoke with the media for the first time since spraining a ligament in his foot during Wednesday's game against the Celtics. The injury has been determined unrelated to last season's fracture, which kept Lopez out of all but five games. Here's the full statement from Team Orthopedic Surgeon Riley Williams III:
"Brook suffered a twisting injury to his foot during the Boston game. He experienced some soreness afterwards, and was examined by the Nets training staff. Precautionary x-rays of his foot were negative. The area of Brook's previous fracture at the 5th metatarsal bone was unremarkable, and unchanged compared to prior films. He reports tenderness over the top of foot. This area corresponds to ligaments that connect the tarsal or midfoot bones. He is diagnosed with a ligament sprain of the mid foot, and will be re-evaluated Monday upon his return to New York by Team Orthopedic Surgeon, Riley Williams and Nets Foot and Ankle Consultant, Dr. Martin O'Malley."
Lopez said he first felt the pain, located on the top of his foot, when he came down after driving on Kevin Garnett in the third quarter Wednesday. Recognizing it was the previously injured foot, Lopez acknowledged concern at the time, and some distinct nervousness while awaiting X-ray results. When they came in negative, Lopez took his first easy breath of the day.
"Man," Lopez said. "I was thrilled, honestly. It’s a much better position than I could’ve been in."
Coach Avery Johnson said it "felt like a year" before finding out the problem was isolated from Lopez's history, and something that will keep him out only two games before he's re-evaluated. Lopez said Friday that the foot is already feeling much improved, but until he's back on the court, Johnson must adjust a frontcourt rotation that has been consistent in both role and performance since the season started.
Lopez and Humphries had started every game prior, with Andray Blatche coming in for Lopez and Reggie Evans spelling Humphries. The Blatche-Evans combo has provided effective two-way play against other teams' second units, but Lopez's absence likely sends Blatche into a starting role.
"We’ve had a luxury of having four big guys that kind of know when they’re going to get in the game, when they’re going to get in and get out," Johnson said. "And they’ve gotten in a pretty good rhythm, so this is definitely going to disrupt our rhythm.
But we have to make it work. Blatche and Humphries and Reggie, Gerald Wallace is going to have to play some 4. Orlando, they go small sometimes, so Gerald will play some 4 for us. Mirza (Teletovic) has got to be ready. (Josh) Childress can play some small 4 for us. We have a couple of different options. But we have a big hole, big shoes to fill."
Kris Humphries also spoke for the first time since Wednesday, discussing his part in the altercation with Rajon Rondo, who earned a two-game suspension for initiating the ordeal. Humphries shrugged off any post-game Celtic criticisms of his character, and even joked about managing to evade suspension after the league determined he was defending himself without escalating the situation:
"I didn’t do anything," Humphries pointed out. "It’s too expensive to hit someone in the NBA. I’m making money now. C’mon man."