Lopez confident he'll be better than ever
August, 29, 2014
By Mike Mazzeo | ESPNNewYork.com
Ned Dishman/Getty ImagesBrook Lopez has discussed his situation with Zydrunas Ilgauskas.SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez has spoken briefly with former Cleveland Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who also underwent an osteotomy procedure during his playing career. But Lopez doesn’t think their situations are going to be exactly the same.
“Like I said before, I’m not looking for any restrictions,” Lopez told two reporters Friday. “I’m confident I’m gonna be able to go out there and be better than I’ve ever been. So from that standpoint, I think our timetables will be different.”
Ilgauskas had his procedure in February 2001. He returned to game action in December of that year, averaging just 21.4 minutes while starting in 23 of the 62 games in which he appeared.
But the following season, Ilgauskas returned to form, missing just one game and averaging a career-high 17.2 points in 30 minutes.
“I talked to Z really quickly in passing after [having my] surgery while I was hurt,” Lopez said. “It was real quick, basic stuff, a lot of words of encouragement.”
Lopez said he continues to improve every day, increasingly getting in shape and regaining his wind.
“We’re doing everything possible to make the transition as easy as possible, so we’re not immediately just pounding, pounding, pounding right away,” Lopez said. “And I’m in good hands. We still have a lot of time left, and I’m confident when it comes to the outlook of the season. I’m very excited.”
• Lopez was speaking at the first-ever Brooklyn Nets Hamptons Basketball Camp; 160 campers were in attendance to shoot some hoops with Lopez and coach Lionel Hollins.
Lopez arrived in the Hamptons in style -- on a helicopter. The trip, which began at Chelsea Piers, took exactly 45 minutes.
“They told me we’d land at 9:20, and we landed at 9:20,” Lopez said. “Our pilot was on point.”
• Lopez recently attended the Emmys with his twin brother, Portland Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez.
“It was fun. I got it set up through a connection with my agent,” he said.
Brook and Robin had tickets in the middle of the fourth row.
“I thought they were going to be way in the back,” Lopez said with a laugh.
The highlight for Lopez?
“I was sitting behind Richard Karn [who played Al Borland on "Home Improvement"] all night, so I was geeking out about that,” Lopez said. “That was probably my favorite part.”