What Lopez Injury Means for #Nets, Blatche and Teletovic

Josh Newman, SNYNets.com

After a 10-4 start, including four straight wins and nine of their last 11, the Brooklyn Nets are about to experience a little bit of adversity.

The team announced on Thursday afternoon that Brook Lopez will miss the next two games, at the Orlando Magic on Friday and at the Miami Heat on Saturday with a mild sprain of the right ankle. X-rays on the ankle were negative.

The Nets offered no specifics on the injury, but it may have happened during the third quarter of Wednesday evening’s 95-83 win at the Boston Celtics. He came up limping after a drive to the basket, but stayed in the game. He picked up his fifth foul with 9:40 to go in the fourth quarter and never returned.

A mild ankle sprain is generally not considered a big deal, but anything having to do with Lopez’s feet needs to be approached with great caution.

A stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal of his right foot suffered last preseason caused him to miss the first 32 games of the lockout-shortened regular season. Lopez returned, played five games, re-injured the foot on March 4 and was shut down for the remainder of the season. Before those injuries, Lopez had been sturdy, playing in all 246 games over his first three seasons.

After re-signing with the Nets over the summer four four years and $60 million, Lopez had been off to a strong start this season, averaging 18.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game, while shooting 53 percent from the floor.

With Lopez out, it stands to reason that Andray Blatche will receive more minutes and probably the start at center for the next two games. In shape and engaged this season after being amnestied by the Washington Wizards, Blatche is averaging 9.1 points and 5.4 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game this season. He is coming off one of his better efforts of the season on Wednesday when he went for 17 points and 13 rebounds in a season-high 29 minutes. The double-double was his first of the season.

Another player that will likely be thrust into action with Lopez out is Mirza Teletovic. The 27-year-old rookie power forward has had a rough start to his NBA career, having only played in four games while being inactive for the last four games.

When Teletovic was first inactive on Nov. 23 against the Los Angeles Clippers, Nets head coach Avery Johnson said he was sure Teletovic would have an impact on their season at some point. With Lopez out, that time may be now.

“We’re gonna be playing some teams that like to play small at 4 and I just think in his case, as I talked to him about this situation, he’s going to have an impact on our season at some point,” Johnson said on Nov. 23. “We’ve got 72 more games to go and you never know how things can change.”

Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA