From the Star-Ledger’s Colin Stephenson:
Center Brook Lopez practiced for the first time since breaking his foot in the preseason and looked good, coach Avery Johnson and his teammates said…
…Lopez had surgery Dec. 23 to insert a screw in his right foot, in which he had suffered a broken fifth metatarsal bone. The team had said he would be out 6-8 weeks, and Friday marked seven weeks since the surgery. The official injury report said Lopez will be out through at least Thursday’s game in Indianapolis, and his status will be updated Friday. Johnson said there won’t be any more practices before the All-Star break, but said that doesn’t mean Lopez won’t return before the break.
“We’re not ruling anything out,” Johnson said.
The 23-year old Lopez had played in all 82 games of each of his first three seasons in the league, and averaged 20 points and 5.9 rebounds per game last season on 49.2% shooting from the floor. Without Lopez, Deron Williams and the Nets have stumbled to an 8-21 record this season.
Rumor has it that the Nets would desperately like to trade Lopez for Dwight Howard, but at this point they’d probably be just as happy with some solid production out of their young center, because if the Nets don’t turn things around somehow before the season ends, Williams will almost certainly leave the team this off-season.
The New York Knicks couldn’t get out of their own way on Thursday night, even with a historic performance from Carmelo Anthony. With the Washington Wizards in town, it was John Wall‘s finishing ability that pushed the Wiz over New York, 113-110.
The final 45 seconds were hectic, as Wall took the lead for Washington with just 32 seconds left after drawing a foul on Carmelo.
Down by 1, Anthony then missed a jumper with 18 seconds left and the Knicks allowed Wall to do this:
Wall would go on to steal the final possession from the Knicks, and the Wizards left MSG with a win.
Gregg Popovich can be a fiesty dude, and sometimes he just wants to get his team pumped up. After news that Pau Gasol was going to be absent from the San Antonio Spurs’ lineup against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, perhaps this was his way of doing that?
Late in the second quarter in Denver, Popovich was seen arguing with a baseline official as play continued on. Pop was hit with an initial tech, and as the officiating crew walked away he blasted ’em with the best dad insult I’ve heard in a long time.
“You’re a terrible referee!”
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Mudiay was more than happy to assist with the second technical and ejection portion of Popovich’s tirade.
Long Live Pop.
Kristaps Porzingis is “The Unicorn” perhaps in part because of his high basketball awareness on the offensive end of the floor. On Thursday night against the Washington Wizards, the New York Knicks big man had an incredible putback dunk that surprised even his teammates.
Thanks to a missed Courtney Lee 3-pointer, Porzingis was able to fly in from beyond the arc to slam home two points.
Yeah, that’s crazy.
There’s putback dunks and then there’s flying in from beyond the 3-point line like this one. Wild.
The San Antonio Spurs will have to make do without PF/C for a while Pau Gasol thanks to a recent fracture in his left ring finger.
That’s according to a press release from the team, who said Gasol fractured his fourth metacarpal — the bone that connects the ring finger down to the carpal bones in the wrist area — during warmups before a game against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.
No word yet from the team on recovery time, but estimates given similar recent NBA player injuries suggest anywhere from 4-8 weeks.
Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward missed the first month of the season after fracturing his finger in early October. Cleveland Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving missed around a month in 2012 with a similar injury.
Here’s hoping Gasol can make it back to the court quickly for the Spurs.