Nets center Brook Lopez will be out at least six more days with his lower back strain after beginning conditioning Monday afternoon, doing some light running but otherwise staying out of practice.
The earliest Lopez could return would be Sunday for the team’s matchup against the Detroit Pistons, but he didn’t sound confident that he’d be ready by then. “I’d like to play Sunday,” Lopez said. “We’ll see. I can’t say anything (for sure).”
Lopez said he strained his back lifting weights prior to the team’s practice on Sunday afternoon. This is his first back injury. “No new exercise, something I’ve done every day, and it just happened,” he added. “It was unfortunate. Drives me up the wall. Drives me crazy. But it happened. So we’re working to get back on the floor.”
Lopez hasn’t played since December 5th, in a 98-75 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. He has averaged 16.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 30.1 minutes per game over 16 starts. A report last week indicated that the Nets would be willing to part with their core of Lopez, Deron Williams, and Joe Johnson, but Lopez said he hadn’t heard about it. “I had no idea there was (a rumor),” Lopez, who notoriously avoids reading about the team, joked. “I’m kind of surprised you guys thought I’d know about that.”
“We’re out there working on our games, trying to do whatever we can for the team,” Lopez added. “This is the first I’ve heard of this stuff, so I’m not concerned with that. I’m concerned with getting healthy and being out there to help my team.”
Lopez’s name has been thrown around in trade rumors for most of his career, most prominently in the team’s talks to acquire Dwight Howard two seasons ago. He joked he has no idea how many rumors there have been. “I’m not good at counting. I can’t count that high.”