The Brooklyn Nets struggled during last season before center Brook Lopez went down with another season-ending foot injury. Once he broke his foot on December 20 in Philadelphia, the Nets went with a small ball lineup under Jason Kidd and were able to rally to having one of the better records in the NBA the rest of the season. As good as those final three-plus months were for Brooklyn, they've got to find a way to work Lopez back into the mix.
That should be able to happen right away with Lopez telling reporters in Russia he was "fully cleared" to play about a week and a half ago. Now he's targeting getting into condition before training camp begins so he can be the productive center we've seen from him the last couple of seasons. From ESPN New York:
Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez, who has been rehabbing after undergoing foot and ankle surgery, told reporters in Russia that he has been "fully cleared for play."
"I was fully cleared for play and everything about a week and a half ago now," said Lopez, who is visiting the country with his twin brother, Portland Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez. "... Now it's time to get back in shape."
With so many new parts on the court and a new coach on the sidelines last season, the slow start was likely due to a lack of continuity, injuries with key members, and the need to develop chemistry as a unit. Lopez was phenomenal from an individual standpoint, averaging 20.7 points on 56.3 percent shooting along with 6.0 rebounds in 17 games. In the previous season, he played 74 games and averaged 19.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks.
In his first three seasons in the NBA, Lopez played in 82 games in each of those three seasons. In the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season, he had a foot injury that only allowed him to play in five games. He's a career 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game center.