The Brooklyn Nets got some encouraging news yesterday ahead of their big match-up against the cross-town rival Knicks. Their center, Brook Lopez, returned to practice yesterday and could be ready to play as the Nets take on the Knicks in Brooklyn.
According to Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York, Lopez was able to participate in a 5-on-5 practice Monday afternoon. He will be a game-time decision, but the news is positive. The Nets have been without Lopez since he sprained his right foot a week and a half ago.
Lopez has been one of the better Nets players over the years. He has help around him now, and the Nets are a true contender. So far this season, Lopez is averaging 18.5 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game. His numbers this year aren't far off from his career numbers of 17.5 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game. Lopez has missed the Nets' last five games.
Brooklyn can ill-afford to have Lopez out of the lineup for long. The team has gone 1-4 in his absence. Overall, they are still 11-8, but they have looked far less dominant with Lopez out. He offers a low-post presence, gives the team another rebounding option, and is one of the more versatile players on the roster.
The Nets will be taking on a red-hot Knicks team. New York is 15-5 on the season and has already beat the Miami Heat twice this season. They are riding high. Lopez's return, if he does in fact play, couldn't come at a better time for Brooklyn.
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