Brook Lopez Breaks Foot As Nets’ Season Seems Doomed

Brook Lopez had just returned from a sprained ankle. (Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

Brook Lopez had just returned from a sprained left ankle. (Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – The Brooklyn Nets’ nightmarish season just turned darker. All-Star center Brook Lopez has a broken foot and is out for the season, according to multiple reports Saturday morning.

The 7-footer has battled a sprained left ankle all season and played in just 17 of the struggling Nets’ 26 games. But when he’s played, he’s been very good, averaging¬†20.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg and 1.8 bpg while shooting 56 percent from the floor. He played 44 minutes in Friday’s 121-120 loss at the Philadelphia 76ers, just his second game back from the ankle sprain, that dropped Brooklyn to 9-17. Still, they are amazingly just 2.5 games back of first-place Boston in the underwhelming Atlantic Division.

If that indeed is the play when Lopez broke his foot, he not only stayed in the game, but managed to play 9:53 after that. But any chance of making a move is now severely hampered. This was supposed to be a championship contender. Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov approved a payroll that will reach nearly $190 million in salary and luxury tax. Brooklyn traded for Celtics greats Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, plus Jason Terry, and signed Andrei Kirilenko. Yet, all have been injured in some form or fashion, and rookie head coach Jason Kidd has seemed to be in over his head.

20131221_lopez_on-off

Nets efficiency with Lopez on and off the floor.

More troubling than just this season’s failure to compete must be Lopez’s future. He has broken his foot multiple times and for a big man that is ominous, with Bill Walton and more recently Yao Ming being prime examples of careers cut short.

Lopez, 25, signed a $60 million deal with the Nets in July 2012 after it became clear the Nets’ long pursuit of Dwight Howard would never happen. Lopez played in all 82 games for the first three seasons of his career, but during the preseason of the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season he broke his right foot and missed the first 32 games of the season. He played in 74 games last season and was selected as a reserve to his first All-Star team.

The Nets’ hopes for this season greatly hinged on Lopez and point guard Deron Williams being healthy and performing at an elite level. But injuries have dogged both players. Williams has played in just 15 games due to ankle issues and his performances have been erratic, averaging just 12.7 ppg, his lowest scoring average since his rookie season, and 7.6 apg.

Lopez’s likely replacement in the starting lineup will be Andray Blatche with Mason Plumlee and Reggie Evans.

This Nets season was already headed toward being one of the most underachieving in NBA history, going all the way back to, well, last season’s All-Star-studded Los Angeles Lakers team that was predicted by many to challenge for 70 wins, but barely made the playoffs and was swept out in the first round.

Now, even with the state of the Atlantic Division, chances of turning this two-month nightmare into a fairy tale seems more remote than Kidd and former top assistant Lawrence Frank feasting over Christmas dinner once the Nets and the injury-crippled Chicago Bulls complete their once highly anticipated Christmas Day matchup at the Barclays Center.

38 Comments

  1. wow says:

    that trade favors lakers so much but its ok trade for nets i guess

  2. Gillsy says:

    Yea without their best player the Hawks could get a top 5 pick. The big Russian’s problem wasn’t that he pent so much to get players but the player he paid to get. Like PP and KG will both be hall of famers but they were not the people to go after. Your best two players Williams and best of all Lopez keep getting injured. While getting Johnson was an ok acquisition at best. However, the worst decision was to put a rookie coach with no experience in when you have two excellent coaches sitting on the sidelines. While to do this you have traded away your first round picks for years to come. The only bright point is that PP and KG will retire probably at the seasons and free up some cap space.

  3. Tuff Luck says:

    These guys are all PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES, this is what they do, playing games back 2 back and then hitting the gym hard is their life. there is no reason to say that their getting injured because of the schedule…that’s non-sense. Their injuries are simply just UNFORTUNATE things that happen even to the best of the best.

  4. theaandthea says:

    good luck mister lopez, time loss is frustrating but you’ll be back
    real mens play with pain and do that quietly when they take a hit, the problem of real mens is that sometimes it’a a real injury too

  5. lol says:

    its ok, they can take the 8th seed in the east conf if they manage to reach 30 wins….

  6. OKC says:

    Thats really unfortunate, but on the bright side you will probably only need like 35 wins to make the playoffs in the east.

  7. mee(a)t says:

    I don’t get how people are saying that people nowadays are getting too big for basketball…are you kidding me? Back then there was a point guard who was 6’9″ and weighed 220 pounds…how much does Isaiah Thomas weigh?

  8. dustydreamnz says:

    I like what you guys are saying about maybe the wrong type of training. I’m sure there were less injuries in the old days and they had worse technology!

  9. Brent says:

    The Nets are absolutely screwed.

  10. okc2014 says:

    It’s very unfortunate about the Nets, Bulls and Lakers. And every team in the NBA is at risk for injury, at any minute, at every game. I think it helps to reduce injury from starters when you have a strong bench. It gives players time to rest a little. And I also agree that the difference know could be all the weight training. I just don’ remember back in the day basketball players looking buffed up like football players. Someone said it right, you train for basketball by playing basketball..

  11. Owen says:

    They should get Jeremy LIN to reach their potential…
    they become… BROOK-LIN… nice :D

  12. JerrySloanFan says:

    I feel really bad for Lopez and KG/Pierce…..however…..

    Hey Deron – have you noticed things have not gone well for you since you did your “watch me make Jerry Sloan retire” trick? Mannnnnn….yo sure have some bad karma following you around….you should get someone to take that hex off you….perhaps call Jerry and apologize for a start…..maybe then your career will jump back out of the toilet :-)

    And J Kidd….well…..I think your bad karma is just starting….throwing poor little Lawrence under the bus like that? Have you not been watching all the bad stuff that has happened to Deron??? You should learn from his mistakes – if you act like a weasel, you’ll attract bad mojo :-)

  13. kg5 says:

    use KG as he was used in boston…

  14. The Nets still have enough talent on their roster to make the playoffs. Jason Kidd should take a page out of DOC Rivers book and start KG at Center alongside Blatche

  15. Unkle Daddy says:

    Anyone who couldn’t see the future of the Nets and the Bulls before this season started is blind. I said nets aren’t gonna work very well and D. Rose will reinjure himself. Not saying I wanted either of those things to happen, just saying I saw it coming.

  16. Henrik Jensen says:

    now would jason kidd please wake up and play Kevin Garnett more than 20 minutes pr game.. come on !

  17. Jeff Frin Philippines says:

    Get Asik Brooklyn Nets.

  18. A.J. says:

    Serves ‘em right. Of all the possible GMs Prokhorov could have selected, he wittled the last two finalists down to arguably two of the worst franchise destroyers in the past 20 years, Danny Ferry and Billy King. What in the hell was he thinking.

  19. Nets have been overhyped from the get-go. Hope this Russian guy isn’t like the arrogant drunks from his country in Thailand throwing their loot around and thinking they can buy what they want, or worse, like Daniel Snyder in the NFL. Lopez was probably the best player they had, and now he is gone. Time to step up and play like an elite guard, Williams. You’re not that old.

    Yet.

  20. dustydreamnz says:

    Hasn’t the schedule been like this for ages though? Why are so many players getting injured though, has it always been this way? I don’t think so.
    The Nets are hopeless without Lopez, before D-Will came back he was a one man band. Blatche is a better option than Garnett these days.

    • Unkle Daddy says:

      The reason players get injured so much is because they never take time to rest. Look at their bodies every player is like a body builder now. Basketball players should do just that play basketball they don’t need to be lifting weights all the time. You have to give your body time to recover, you don’t need to go to practice, then lift weights in the gym, then do more cardio. It’s to much, yes a few guys bodies like a Lebron James type can do that, but it’s like 1 of 100. Playing basketball is conditioning for playing basketball.

  21. lakerslakerslakers says:

    something needs to be done about the schedule. too many are going down. they need to reduce the games or something. only way stern will do anything is if lebron gets injured. and i hope it doesn’t have to come to that.

    • Dieter says:

      82 games is way too much, but changing it won’t be that easy. Lesser games is lesser income from tickets, sponsors, television, … It’s a very difficult topic to discuss between the league, owners and players. But all those guys who earn a ridiculous amount of money should take a paycut of 50% and reduce the shedule to 58 games, with no back to back games.

      Another thing that maybe could solve this situation is keeping the 82 games, but put a maximum on player minutes, like only 35 minutes/game or only 8 minutes/quarter, and giving each team the possibility to rest non injured players a maximum of 10 games. I don’t think the league will ever accept this, because they already fined Pop last season for giving well deserved rest to his players.

      Too much players are seeing their carreer stopped by injures the last couple years: Oden & Roy, I also believe Rose will never play a playoff game anymore, Kobe’s probably finished too, Wade is fighting through injuries all year and is probably going down hard this year, it’s yet to be seen what Rondo can do when he’s back, D-Will has not been himself the last years, Chris Paul also has his troubles every year, … I can’t name much star players who can handle this type of play and shedule, at the moment Lebron is doing fine, but I’m doubting he can hold off a serious injury in the next couple years. Also seeing hard working players like Noah and Deng shortening their carreers for reaching the Playoffs and than using their second breaths to try to reach the second round should be alarming for Stern and his companions.

    • Pakyaw says:

      Stop whining about the schedule..!.. These athletes are PRO, they got paid millions just to play sports…it’s up to them how they wanna take care of them self …(work ethics)..

  22. Dr. K says:

    Guess our favorite Russian has learned a very valuable lesson (to the tune of $190+ Million): Money may allow you to play in this league, but it is by far absolutely no guarantee you can play competitively nor make the proper decisions. This year’s Nets will become a textbook example of what NOT to do.

    – Do not bring in fading stars. If Pearce and Garnett were still worth having, why did Boston give them up? (Let’s remind everyone that Boston has a history of winning in this league, unlike the Nets….) Actually, all four of the fading stars the Nets picked up this summer have been plagued with injuries; add to it those of Deron and Brook, and you have yourself one big pile of steaming…. excuse.

    – Do not bring in a former player who has absolutely no coaching experience on any level, especially one with a history of domestic violence and alcohol abuse. The Nets gave up a perfectly fine coach in PJ to bring in Kidd. Talk about a bad decision – this one’s a candidate for Bad Decision of the Decade. How long before pride is overtaken by need and Kidd is shown the door? Not soon enough.

    – If you’re goign to throw this kind of money around, do it with proven winners in the front office. Enough said.

    • sedajames says:

      Dr. K, you make a lot of good points. Most specifically the lunacy of hiring Jason Kidd. Even if you put aside his questionable character (which you shouldn’t), he’s a first year head coach who has never put in any coaching time at any level. It’s a terrible risk to make such a big gamble, especially with the like of Phil Jackson and guys with tested experience like Patrick Ewing and Chuck Person who deserve that shot first.

      But I have to disagree with you on adding aging stars. At their price tags both Pierce and Garnett are a solid value and adding proven veterans, especially ones with championship pedigrees when all it cost you was Kris Humphries (who rode the bench for 12M) and an overpaid role player in Gerald Wallace, and a few picks that (presumably) were going to be high was a solid move in my opinion. Boston didn’t want to let either of those guys guy, but they chose to go full rebuild and neither Pierce of KG were interested in tanking. And Boston isn’t winning, they just happen to be the best worst team in the atlantic.

      The real problem with the Nets is they are depending on both Lopez and Williams to stay healthy and perform at the all-star level they are both capable of…and its just not happening. The real mistake was believing you can build a team around either of those players. They’re both proving…you can’t.

      • Dr. K says:

        I agree with you re Brook and Deron. Both seem to have crystal feet. I sincerely doubt that Deron will make it through this season without further injury, and Brook is out for the year. A good coach might possibly be able to turn this team around – even with 1/3 of the season gone – but this team lacks such a coach.

        I wonder if our favorite Russian is pleased with his decisions – about who to get as coach, who to take in trades, how much money he is burning through this year…

  23. Game Time says:

    On the bottom of Lopez’s foot there’s a ‘Made in China’ sticker.

    • Another Heat Fan says:

      I think, no matter what team you are a fan of that has had it tough this year, whether you are a Laker fan or a Bulls fan sad about your injured heroes, or whether you are a Wolves fan or a Cavs fan unhappy with your team still not meeting expectations, no matter how bad your team has it, just remember, Nets fans have it worst!

      Even if you are a Knicks fan, the nets are still looking worse because atleast the knicks can rebuild but the nets are very, very, very screwed…

      • Lakers' fanboy says:

        please…..heat fans…..stop commenting everything and act like u guys are so much better than rest of the league….stacker.

      • Another Heat Fan says:

        Lol your post shows how butthurt you are simply because i put my name as another heat fan…

        I didn’t even mention the heat or say anything condescending in my post

        If i did it would sound something like “hey i know it’s a bad time to be a Laker fan but it’s a great time to be a Heat hater right when they are going for the 3-peat so cheer up at least you have a reason to keep watching NBA basketball…”

  24. $$$GUWAP$$$ says:

    Looks like the Hawks are gonna get a top ten pick from Brooklyn this season