GEICO SportsNite: Hollins on 44-minute game

Nets head coach Lionel Hollins says Sunday’s shortened game against the Celtics will affect his bench players more than the starters.

GEICO SportsNite: Lopez could miss season opener

Nets center Brook Lopez is in danger of missing the season opener after spraining his right foot. Lopez discussed the moments leading up to the diagnosis that his injured foot was not broken.

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Teletovic, not Plumlee, first in line at power forward without Lopez

Mirza Teletovic will get the first crack at the starting power forward spot in Brook Lopez’s absence, Lionel Hollins told reporters on Friday.

With Lopez set to miss two weeks, the Nets head coach said that Kevin Garnett will slide over to center and Teletovic will play the four.

Teletovic played seven games as a starter last season and posted 14.3 points, four rebounds, 1.1 assists over 28.6 minutes per game.

Brian Erni

Based on how strong Teletovic looked on Wednesday in China, this may not come as much of a surprise.  Teletovic started at power forward, played 30 minutes, and dominated by shooting 7-of-12 (6-for-9 from deep) and grabbing four boards. Still, I’m not convinced Mason Plumlee wouldn’t be the better choice based on the system Hollins wants to play. Since Hollins seems to favor playing bigger down low, Plumlee would seem like a slam dunk (no pun intended). The Nets are bringing a lot of motion on offense, though, and Mirza is lethal for his ability to catch and shoot for seemingly anywhere on the floor. Maybe that’s why Hollins thinks MT3 is the way to go.

Either way, it’s crazy to think just how much has changed for Teletovic in a year. Last preseason, he was bemoaning his lack of usage in his rookie season, with some worried he may become a malcontent. Now, he’s a linchpin in this rebuilt offense. I’m pumped to see what Mirza can do with this opportunity.

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Nets optimistic about Lopez’s foot

Billy King and Brook Lopez both addressed the media and assured reporters the Nets are optimistic about the condition of Lopez’s right foot.

When asked why King felt so confident about the mild foot sprain Lopez was diagnosed with on Thursday, King responded simply, “because it’s not broken.”

King also added that Lopez will have no minutes restrictions when he returns.

“If you don’t drive your car, you have less chance of getting into an accident,” King said, downplaying the idea that the Nets would be overly careful with Lopez. “You can’t put him in a bubble. It’s basketball. He’s going to play.”

Lopez said he was concerned about his foot on the flight back from China, and stressed about it for the 14 hour trip. He was relieved when he got the diagnosis on Thursday.

Brian Erni

It’s great to hear how upbeat Lopez was, so that at least gets me off the ledge where I was standing this morning. That said, I’m still concerned this may be a lingering problem. The talk about Lopez’s foot seems to have brought about opposing camps in the Nets fan base. One is not worried at all, noting Lopez sprained his foot back in 2012 and missed only two weeks. That, of course, was one major surgery ago. The other camp is freaked out, ready to close up shop and relinquish the entire season. I’m somewhere in the middle.

No one is going to convince me a guy coming off his second reconstructive foot surgery spraining that very foot is not a cause for concern. It is, especially because of what Lopez means to this team. But I’m willing to take a wait-and-see approach. I think Lopez can be the player he used to be, but he has a lot to prove at this stage. Recovering quickly from this sprain would be a major step in pushing those doubts out of my mind.

Lopez’s foot sprain could be start of a long season

Brian Erni

Here we go again. Just three preseason games in, and Brook Lopez is back on the shelf.

Hours after ESPN’s SCHOENE projection essentially taunted Nets fans by forecasting a sub-.500 season because of the risk of injury to their top stars, Nets fans are awaking to their worst nightmare: a Brook Lopez set back. The Nets confirmed Thursday night that Lopez sustained a mild foot sprain in the first quarter of Brooklyn’s win over the Kings in China on Wednesday, and it may just the worst thing that could have happened less than two weeks before Opening Night.brook scared

“Brook Lopez experienced right foot soreness after being stepped on during the  pre-season game against the Kings Wednesday night. X-ray and CT scan studies done Thursday in New York reveal no fractures or bone injuries,” Nets medical director Dr. Riley Williams, III said. “Brook has been diagnosed with a mild mid-foot sprain and is likely to be out for approximately 10-14 days.”

Okay, so the news isn’t the apocalypse, but it’s not exactly glowing either. Lopez has always been a rare blend of size and athleticism, and Lionel Hollins has tried to assert more aggressiveness on Brook to elevate his game. That means more contact around the rim and under the basket. This will not be the first time his surgically-repaired foot gets stepped on, so how are Nets fans supposed to be confident their center can hold up throughout the course of an 82 game season?

It’s simple: we can’t.

The Nets do have some contingencies, but they’re far from a sure thing. With the opener in Boston in question, Mason Plumlee could step into a starting role, most likely sliding the 20 year veteran Kevin Garnett over to center and inserting Plumlee at power forward. Plumlee is coming off a great summer, were he made Team USA and got some time at that position during the Americans’ gold medal run in the FIBA World Cup. But is he ready to play 20-25 minutes as a starter?

Some may think asking these questions are premature, but it’s a very real concern for a team that is trying to install a new offense, adapt to a head coach in his first year with the club, and plug some holes left by free agency. The last thing they need is a major shake up, and they’ll have to seriously contemplate life without Lopez again to ensure they’re not caught off guard.

Not to mention, even if Lopez dodges the injury bug, this sets back the progress of his game. Lopez told SNY Nets’ Josh Newman that he had “lots to work on” this preseason.

“I think I just gotta continue to become more explosive and get my feet back under me, gain a few steps and get my general timing back down,” Lopez concluded.

That won’t happen for the next two weeks, as the Nets are sure to treat their center with velvet gloves in his recovery. The best case scenario here is this is not a sign of things to come, Lopez gets back on the court in two weeks, and isn’t that far behind of where he was just two days ago. Don’t be surprised if it takes him a while to get back into form.

Nets fans, we’ve seen this play out before, haven’t we? I’m growing increasingly concerned this could be a long, long season.


NBA approves additional replay and rules changes

The NBA announced on Thursday that the Board of Governors has approved additional instant replay and rules changes for the 2014-15 season. The additions to instant replay and the rule changes will go into effect this Friday during preseason games.

Regarding instant replay, new rules will allow officials to review a play whenever they’re not “reasonably certain” a team had an improper number of players on the court.

Modification to the existing replay rules includes the fact that instant replay triggers will no longer be in effect during the entire overtime period(s). Instead, the replay triggers will only be in effect during the last two minutes of each overtime period. Modifications will also give officials more freedom to go to replay when determining possession, and for decisions on flagrant fouls, clear-path fouls, and players who are fouled away from the ball.

New rules changes include stiffer penalties for too many players on the court while the ball is in play, the ability for teems to “freely substitute” players whenever a timeout is called, and the fact that the shot clock will no longer be reset to five seconds each time a held ball is caused by the defense with less than five seconds on the clock.

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Brook Lopez has a right foot sprain

The Nets announced Thursday that Brook Lopez has a right foot sprain in his recently surgically repaired right foot.

Lopez’ foot is not fractured, but the injury is likely to keep him out of action for 10-14 days.

According to the team, the injury occurred when Lopez’ foot was stepped on during Wednesday’s game.

Lopez has suffered injuries to his right foot each of the last three seasons.