Sunday, February 9, 2014

Brook Lopez - I'm Not Done

Sixers guard Evan Turner falls on Brook Lopez on December 20, 2013.

On December 20 in Philadelphia, Nets’ All-Star center Brook Lopez broke his right foot on an awkward fall midway through the fourth quarter. Lopez didn't come out of the game, however, and played the rest of the fourth and overtime on the broken foot. The next day, the Nets announced that Lopez had broken the fifth metatarsal of his right foot and would miss the rest of the season.

Lopez underwent successful surgery on January 4, and team physician Dr. Riley Williams III said the surgery “decreases the likelihood of re-injury in the future”. The surgery was Lopez’s fourth on his right foot in three years, and, despite Dr. Williams’ statement, pundits and fans alike fear that the center’s career, or at least his All-Star days, are over. They point to other big men such as Bill Walton, Yao Ming, and Sam Bowie who have had promising careers cut short due to lingering foot injuries. Most people are scared, nervous, or both, that Brook Lopez could be “done”.

Brook Lopez is not most people.

Speaking at halftime of the Nets 91-83 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, Lopez, in his first post-operation interview, said, according to Newsday's Mark Herrmann:

“There is no question in my mind. No question,'' the center said when asked whether he would be able to return to his All-Star form. "There is no way I would give up.”
"I'm not scared at all," Lopez said. "I'm confident I'm going to get back on the floor and I'm going to do everything I can. There's no doubt in my mind that I'll be back out there playing with my guys. I'm going to do everything I can to be out there."
Lopez also revealed that he has been reading, writing, and drawing while out of action, which should come to the surprise of no one.

The fourth-year center is looking forward to returning for the 2014-2015 season with the Nets (granted that he’s not traded before then):
"I don't think I could go on the court and play basketball and have that doubt in my mind. We've done everything that we can,'' he said. "It is up to me to do the right things in this rehab and get it back to where I won't have to worry about it again.''
Before the injury, Lopez was arguably the Nets best player, averaging 20.7 points per game on 56% shooting, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks.
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