New Jersey Nets center Brook Lopez will undergo surgery tomorrow to repair a stress fracture in his foot that will sideline him indefinitely, potentially affecting the team’s chances of acquiring All-Star Dwight Howard.
Lopez, 23, broke the fifth metatarsal of his right foot during an exhibition game last night against the New York Knicks, the Nets said today in an e-mailed statement. No timetable was given for his return. The season begins Dec. 25.
The Nets later today acquired center Mehmet Okur from the Utah Jazz in exchange for a future second-round draft pick, Jazz General Manager Kevin O’Connor said in an e-mail statement released by the team.
Okur, 32, a 2007 National Basketball Association All-Star, is entering his 10th NBA season. The Turkish native appeared in 13 games for Utah last season, averaging 4.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per contest.
Lopez, who has never missed a game in three seasons in the National Basketball Association, averaged a team-high 20.4 points per contest last year for the Nets, who finished with a 24-58 record.
Such an injury usually requires about three months before someone can begin training again, according to Alexis Colvin, an orthopedic surgeon who is an assistant professor of medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Colvin is not specifically familiar with Lopez’s case.
“We typically don’t let people put weight on it for about six weeks after the surgery,” Colvin said in a telephone interview. “Probably about six weeks after that he’d be allowed to start training.”
The injury, which is typically fixed with a screw or a plate, is one that usually heals without complications, Colvin said.
Lopez is one of the main assets that the Nets would use to acquire All-Star center Howard, who is in the final year of his contract with the Orlando Magic. He’s named the Nets as one of the franchises to which he’d accept a trade before he becomes a free agent.
The NBA has yet to announce a trade deadline for its season, which was shortened to 66 games per club from the typical 82. Last season’s was Feb. 24.
Lopez played 21 minutes last night, scoring 15 points and grabbing nine rebounds in the game at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Knicks won 88-82.
It was the second and final preseason contest for both teams following a five-month work stoppage. The Nets, who are moving to the new Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York next year, open their season Dec. 26 at the Washington Wizards.
The team, which re-signed forward Kris Humphries yesterday, also has center Johan Petro on its roster.