After missing the team’s Friday practice, Brook Lopez will not play Saturday night against the Detroit Pistons as he continues to rest his right midfoot sprain.
“He just has pain,” coach Lionel Hollins said. “He was having pain before and looked like he was going better, but now he can’t. It’s not my call of when he does practice or when he doesn’t, so when (the trainers) say he’s not going today, okay.”
There is currently no timetable for Lopez’s return, and it’s the first time Lopez did not do non-contact drills since returning to non-contact following the team’s open practice on Sunday, October 26th.
“I was optimistic every day, (but) when he doesn’t come out and practice, I’m not optimistic any more,” Hollins added. “But he was doing part of the drills, so I figured he was getting better. Now he didn’t practice today, so he’s not going to play tomorrow.”
Lopez suffered the sprain on October 15th, after he was stepped on in the first quarter of their second game against the Sacramento Kings in China. Hollins refused to call it a setback, but Lopez was slated to come back within 10 to 14 days, and Saturday night’s game marks 17 days since the sprain.
Lopez is no stranger to right foot injuries. He first suffered a stress fracture to the fifth metatarsal of his right foot on December 21st, 2011, shortly before the start of the 2011-12 lockout season, and underwent surgery two days later to insert a screw in the foot to stabilize the fracture. He played five games late in that season. On June 24th, 2013, the team announced that the screw in his foot had bent and been replaced. On December 20th, 2013, Lopez again fractured the same bone in his right foot, requiring a third surgery to both fix the bone break and re-align his foot to relieve pressure on the bone.
Mason Plumlee will start for the second straight game in Lopez’s absence. “It’s going to put a big stress on our bigs, we don’t really have but two bigs, three bigs with (Jerome) Jordan, KG (Kevin Garnett) and Mase,” Hollins said.
“It’s going to put stress them to go out there. But beyond that, we were counting on Brook to be a big part of what we were doing offensively and he’s not here to do that.”