The New Jersey Nets expect that injured center Brook Lopez will miss between 4-6 weeks and return from foot surgery in early February, reports Adrian Wojnarowski. The timetable could prove essential to New Jersey's ability to make a trade prior to the March 15 deadline.
The Nets were reported to be one of the leading trade destinations for Dwight Howard if and when the Orlando Magic decide to put their superstar back on the trade block, but any offer to land Howard would almost certainly require parting ways with Lopez. If Wojnarowski's timetable proves correct, New Jersey's injured center would have slightly more than a month to showcase his bill of health before the trade deadline.
But some doctors question whether Lopez will return so quickly. Zach Lowe reports that Dr. F.D. Kharrazi of Kerlan-Jobe, who also works for the Lakes, believes that Lopez's healing and rehab process could last 3-4 months. Foot injuries can prove to be especially difficult for big men.
The Nets announced Thursday that Lopez has been diagnosed with a stress fracture to the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot that was suffered in the second quarter of Wednesday night's loss to the New York Knicks. The seven-footer played through the pain and finished the game with 15 points and nine rebounds, but a post-game examination revealed the full extent of the injury.