It may be a while before Brook Lopez puts on a Nets uniform again. The All-Star center missed Brooklyn’s season-opening loss to the Celtics with recurring right foot problems, and head coach Lionel Hollins said on Friday that he’s out for tomorrow’s game against the Detroit Pistons.
Hollins did not provide a timetable for Lopez’s return, but he did have some details about the team’s mindset that weren’t exactly encouraging. From The Brooklyn Game’s Devin Kharpertian:
“He just has pain,” coach Lionel Hollins said. “He was having pain before and looked like he was going better, but now he can’t. It’s not my call of when he does practice or when he doesn’t, so when (the trainers) say he’s not going today, okay.”
“I was optimistic every day, (but) when he doesn’t come out and practice, I’m not optimistic any more,” Hollins added. “But he was doing part of the drills, so I figured he was getting better. Now he didn’t practice today, so he’s not going to play tomorrow.”
Losing Lopez for any extended period of time would obviously be a huge blow for the Nets. He’s arguably the best offensive center in the league when healthy, but he’s dealt with foot injuries two of the last three years. He fractured a bone in his right foot shortly after the start of the 2011-12 season and missed the rest of the year after undergoing surgery. He played 74 games for the Nets in 2012-13 but played just 17 last season after reinjuring the foot and having another surgery.
Mason Plumlee will start at center while Lopez is out. The injury certainly doesn’t help Brooklyn’s chances at a playoff run — they’re already thin as it is with the loss of Paul Pierce to free agency this summer. Now, they’ll have to hope that Kevin Garnett has something left in the tank if they want to stay competitive in the Eastern Conference.