Brook Lopez underwent a surgical procedure on March 3rd to repair a slight tear in his left ankle tendon, Nets general manager Billy King announced to the media Friday night shortly before the team’s game against the Boston Celtics.
“Brook had his left ankle cleaned out, he had a partial tear of the tendon which we knew, so that was done,” King said.
The procedure also tightened Lopez’s lateral ankle ligaments. He missed nine games in the first two months of the season with ankle injuries.
Lopez played in 17 games this season before breaking the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot on December 20th, landing awkwardly in the fourth quarter of an overtime loss against the Philadelphia 76ers. It was the second time he’d broken the bone in his NBA career.
He underwent two surgeries on January 4th; the first to fix the broken fifth metatarsal bone, and the second a first metatarsal osteotomy to help re-align his foot to re-position his foot, relieving pressure on the broken bone and reducing the risk of re-injury.
King added that Lopez’s recovery has gone “great,” and that he saw Lopez recently and expects him to take the court again in June. “He hasn’t shaved,” King joked.
Since Lopez’s injury, the Nets have drastically changed their play style, moving away from a half-court post-reliant offense and towards a small/long hybrid lineup with Paul Pierce at power forward.
“I think Brook would’ve easily adapted (to our new style), because one, he can shoot the ball from the perimeter,” King added. “I don’t think we’d be playing the same way we did last year with Brook I think we’d be playing this way, where the ball would move. ”
The Nets applied for and were granted a Disabled Player Exception by the league on January 7th, an exception only given once a league doctor confirms that an injury to a player is most likely a season-ending injury. The Nets let the exception expire March 10th without using it.
Prior to his injury, Lopez averaged 20.7 points and 6.0 rebounds in 31.4 minutes per game, shooting a career-high 56.3 percent from the field. The Nets went 7-10 in his 17 games.