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As if the Brooklyn Nets’ troubles weren’t bad enough, the struggling 9-17 team has lost star center Brook Lopez for the season to a broken right foot. Lopez previously had that foot surgically repaired in 2011 and had another procedure afterward to replace a screw.
Lopez, who was officially diagnosed with a fractured fifth metatarsal of his right foot, is believed to have suffered the injury in the third quarter of Friday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers but played through it as he finished the overtime loss with 22 points over 44 minutes.
In Lopez, the Nets lose their leading scorer and shot blocker. The 25-year-old was averaging 20.7 points and 1.8 blocks per game, along with six rebounds. The Nets have also dealt with plenty of injuries to guys like Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko, and Jason Terry this season and Lopez had only played in 17 games himself.
Kevin Garnett, who has been starting at power forward, is tentatively expected to slide over to center but Andray Blatche figures to see a nice bump in minutes with Lopez gone. Blatche is averaging 11.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, and a steal over 22.7 minutes per game.
The Nets may also look a bit more to Mirza Teletovic, who started Friday’s game to give Garnett a day off. The 6-foot-9 forward put up 18 points, four rebounds, and a block over 33 minutes and is averaging 10 points and 2.8 rebounds over his last five games.
Even with Lopez, the team has struggled mightily, winning just nine of their first 26 games. The Nets rank 21st in scoring, 28th in rebounds, and 27th in points allowed. Many thought it couldn’t get worse but it just might with arguably their best player done for the year.