Josh Newman, Field ReporterBrook Lopez is coming off arguably his best season as a professional, but now, there is a new injury concern for the 7-foot center.
The Nets announced on Monday morning that the screw in their All-Star center’s surgically repaired right foot had bent. The screw was subsequently replaced and Lopez is scheduled to resume basketball-related activities in August. This problem was discovered during his postseason physical.
Despite the bent screw, Lopez had a monster first round playoff series against the Chicago Bulls, averaging 22.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 1.4 assists in 37.6 minutes over seven games.
According to Nets General Manager Billy King, Lopez is currently in a walking boot after having the new screw inserted at Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.
“It was pain-free, so he didn’t notice anything was wrong until the x-rays showed it,” King said at PNY Center on Monday afternoon following a six-player pre-draft workout. “For me, I don’t have any concern because he didn’t have any pain that would’ve prevented him from playing.
This news, in and of itself does, not seem alarming, but given three prior foot injuries, two of which resulted in surgery, for Lopez over the last 18 months, maybe it is a little disconcerting.
Lopez originally had a screw inserted into his right foot on Dec. 23, 2011 following surgery to repair a non-displaced stress fracture for which he missed the first 32 games of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. He played five games, injured his right ankle and was shut down for the season given the then-New Jersey Nets were NBA Draft Lottery-bound.
Lopez, who re-signed with the Nets in the offseason for four years and $61 million last summer, missed seven games in late November and early December with a sprained right foot. The Nets went 2-5 over that stretch.
Last season, the Stanford product averaged 19.4 points and 6.9 rebounds over 74 games. He was named to his first All-Star team as a replacement for the injured Rajon Rondo, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury in January.
The injury possibly sheds some light as to why Lopez was left out of the USA Basketball mini-camp that will take place in Las Vegas from July 22-25. The mini-camp is comprised of young players with little or no national team experience. Lopez is 25 years old and has zero international experience.
Team USA is off this summer after winning gold at the London Olympics in 2012, but is holding the mini-camp as it looks to set up its player pool for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
According to King, Lopez would have been included on the mini-camp roster had it not been for the foot. Lopez was included on the national team in 201o that won gold at the World Championships, but was forced to pull out three weeks before the competition opened as he struggled to recover from a bout with mononucleosis.
“He’s disappointed, but I think he looks at it as he’s coming off a great season where he was an All-Star,” King said. “What he’s accomplished, I think he’s worked at it to have a chance to play for Team USA in the future.”
Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter for up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA