Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What Does the Future Hold For Brook Lopez?

On Saturday Brooklyn Nets All-Star center Brook Lopez had his third surgery on his right foot at Duke Medical Center in North Carolina, to repair the break he sustained on December 20th. As well as repairing the break, Lopez also had a first metatarsal osteotomy. 
What that means is that the doctors moved the bones around in Lopez's foot so he could better bear weight. The doctors essentially redesigned his foot, a foot that has proven it cannot support a 7 foot tall man who runs miles every day. 
Foot surgeries on tall men in the past, like Yao Ming, have often been last chance surgeries with the hopes of prolonging a career on a foot that isn't designed for that profession. 
The Nets however, aren't saying this is a last chance effort to save Lopez's career. They have $60 million invested in the center, and are being overly cautious and defensive.
"He had surgery. It was successful. And then he'll recover and be back playing," said Nets general manager Billy King. "We can sit here and say 'last-ditch effort' or whatever, he had surgery. They said it's gonna be a successful recovery, so I mean, we can't sit here today on January 4 and say what's gonna happen when he starts playing again. We can't speculate on that, and I'm not gonna do that."
The Nets are hopeful, therefore, that Lopez will make a full recovery and be back next summer working out and ready to play to play in the fall. Their future is tied up in Lopez and Deron Williams and were likely deliberate when they chose this path for Lopez. Dr. James Nunley performed Lopez's surgery and has operated on Grant Hill and recently Lakers forward Ryan Kelly. Dr. Nunley is considered one of the top in his field. 
What seems so cruel to fans, and of course Lopez himself, is that he was healthy for so long, not missing a single game in the first three seasons of his career. Lopez played 74 games last season after coming back from a broken foot the year before.
Lopez was starting to come into his own since his last broken foot two years ago, becoming a force offensively. Even when the Nets kept adding offensive threats, Lopez was still the best and most reliable. He was averaging a career high 20.7 points on a career best 56 percent shooting in the first 17 games before he fractured the foot in Philadelphia. 
It's uncertain whether he will ever be able to return to his pre-break numbers, and no one has a concrete answer.
"It's a break. Talk to me in October, or this summer when he's working out, and that's all we can do," King said. "We can't sit here and make up answers."
Reference: ESPN
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