King: No restrictions placed on Lopez

August, 18, 2014
Aug 18
1:48
PM ET
Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King said during a radio interview Monday that there is currently no plan in place to put any restrictions on center Brook Lopez this season.

However, King said team brass will meet with Lopez and doctors before determining how to proceed.

Lopez had recently been cleared to resume basketball activities as he continues to rehab from foot and ankle surgery.

“We will sit down with him and the doctors and come up with a plan,” King said during an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio.

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“Right now, there is no plan to put any restrictions on him, but I think as we do with all players through the preseason -- whether you’re looking at KG [Kevin Garnett] or Deron [Williams], who’s coming off of ankle injuries -- you build them up. You get them ready for the opening day of the season, but you’re really getting them ready for January, February, March and April. So I look at it like climbing a ladder throughout the season when you have veteran players. But I know [new coach] Lionel [Hollins] is gonna push all these guys and challenge them physically. And whatever doctors allow Brook and Deron to do, Lionel is going to push them to that point.”

Lopez, 26, suffered a season-ending right foot injury on Dec. 20 in Philadelphia. He underwent surgery to repair the fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot on Jan. 4. He also underwent a second procedure, called a first metatarsal osteotomy, in which another bone was repositioned in his foot to unload and protect the injured area.

Then on March 3, Lopez had surgery to repair a torn tendon and tighten lateral ligaments in his left ankle. He had been doing some shooting and workout drills before being cleared.

Former Cleveland Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas underwent the osteotomy procedure in February 2001. He returned in December 2001 and averaged just 21.4 minutes while starting only 23 of the 62 games in which he appeared.

The next season, Ilgauskas missed just one game, averaging a career-high 17.2 points in 30 minutes.

Back in late June, King didn’t want to compare Lopez and Ilgauskas. But given Lopez’s importance to the Nets, it’s very plausible that they'll ease him back -- perhaps by limiting his minutes and giving him extra rest -- in order to make sure he’s healthy by the time the playoffs start.

Lopez was averaging a career-high 20.7 points and 56.3 percent shooting in 17 games before he was lost for the season in 2013-14.

“Brook is a big part for us,” King said. “If you look at what Derrick Rose meant to Chicago, I think Brook for us, especially offensively, was a big part of the success we’ve had here. Last year, I think we were able to overcome it and go far because of our depth, but I think missing Brook didn’t allow us to go further, because you needed that post presence, somebody that could get easy baskets.”

King added that Lopez has been working out at the team’s practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J., on a daily basis in order to get ready for the 2014-15 campaign.

Mike Mazzeo

ESPN New York Writer

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Deron Williams
PTS AST STL MIN
16.4 6.9 1.2 35.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsK. Garnett 8.5
AssistsD. Williams 6.9
StealsD. Williams 1.2
BlocksB. Lopez 1.7