Broken Brook: Lopez Suffers Stress Fracture
December 22, 2011
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.—Thursday at the PNY Center, NETS general manager Billy King announced Brook Lopez suffered a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot and will undergo surgery Friday.
The big man is broken. Billy King met with media today and revealed that fourth-year center Brook Lopez suffered a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot sometime during the first half of Wednesday’s game against the Knicks.
Lopez will undergo surgery Friday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, and a recovery timetable will be released upon its completion. The injury – which matches one that kept forward Damion James out of 48 games last season – will force Lopez to miss a regular-season game for the first time; he had played in 246 consecutive games, the fourth-longest streak in the NBA.
“It’s tough but it’s sports,” King said. “It is what it is. I’m just happy that it’ll be something that he can recover from and get back on the court and play. There are a lot more people out there that have a lot worse things going on in their lives right now. But in sports, it happens: I broke my ankle at Duke and I was out. Injuries happen, it’s part of sports and it’s how you react to them. Other guys gotta step up until we do something else.”
Stepping up will most crucially include producing points – Lopez led the team with a 20.4 PPG average last season. And though the obvious reaction is to want to pick up a replacement center right away, King – as he has all offseason – is again preaching patience, not wanting to make a rash move that ends up limiting the team’s future flexibility.
The guards will be relied upon even further, with Deron Williams attacking to finish instead of distribute, and perhaps James earning some of the post opportunities. Johan Petro, Kris Humphries and Shelden Williams will see upticks in their minutes, and the team is likely to go small often, with Humphries at the 5. Johnson knows the Nets will get no sympathy from opposing teams, and he isn’t expecting any.
“Definitely devastating,” assessed Deron Williams. “Brook’s a big part of our team. But there’s one thing you learn in this business: the one thing you can’t control is injuries. From what I understand it’s not that severe, so hopefully he’ll be on the court soon.”
From experience, James cautions that a full recovery is key, in order to prevent setbacks or any possible recurrence. Now 100 percent, James – like everyone else in the organization – has full faith that athletic trainer Tim Walsh and his staff will successfully help Lopez recover.
And the team is aware that’s going to require emotional support as well, especially considering Lopez has been so durable during his NBA career thus far.
“I don’t think there’s really a book on how to help him do it except keep him around the team as much as possible, keep him involved but at the same time support him in the rehab process,” Johnson said. “There will be times post-surgery when eventually he’ll get back to riding the bike and getting on the treadmill. I’d like to show up for some of those workouts and try to get my six-pack going also and work out with him, let him know that we want to go through his journey and the rehab together and I think mainly just showing him that we care just as much about him as we do about winning.
“(It’s) just being there for him: phone calls, lunches, dinner. Eventually he’ll be able to travel at some point (and we’ll be) getting him on some road trips, getting him around the guys. There are a number of things that we’re going to do once he gets through with the surgery.”