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Saturday, December 8, 2012
Lopez to miss fifth straight game

By Mike Mazzeo

Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez will miss his fifth consecutive game on Sunday night against the Milwaukee Bucks due to a mild right foot sprain.

The timetable for Lopez’s return remains unknown. The 24-year-old did some shooting and agility work during Saturday’s practice, and is still being listed as day to day.

“He’s just not ready [to practice],” Nets coach Avery Johnson said. “He’s just not ready, and it’s not necessarily just being conservative, he’s just not ready yet. So once he’s ready to practice, then the next step will be hoping that he’s ready to get in a game.”

Johnson wants Lopez to participate in a full-contact practice and then see how he recovers before inserting him into a game.

Asked if Lopez may be back for Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks, Johnson didn’t sound very optimistic.

“We’ll see. You know how it is around here with us: it’s practice and it’s recovery,” Johnson said. “You can’t just stick a guy that’s had a foot situation in a game, and he hasn’t practiced. It just makes no sense. So he’s gotta be able to practice and then recover well, we’ll see how he recovers whenever that is, if it’s Tuesday, whenever it is, that’s kind of the plan.”

Lopez will do more work during Sunday’s morning shootaround. Then the Nets will see where he is for Monday’s practice before determining if Tuesday is a possibility.

The Nets have gone 1-3 without Lopez in their lineup. They are definitely missing his 18.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, but even more than that, his 2.5 blocks.

Without its paint protector, Brooklyn has surrendered an average of 109.3 points in its past three games -- all losses.