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Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Lopez to play more; Humphries to start

By Mike Mazzeo

Nets coach Avery Johnson explained his plan for extending center Brook Lopez's minutes.

"He can play a few more minutes tonight. It's gonna be higher than 24," Johnson said Tuesday, in the hours leading up to Brooklyn's game against the Jazz. "We don't really have to worry about playing him in six-minute increments. We're gonna take these next two games and increase his minutes, probably not in the 40s, but he may hit the 30-minute mark, with the idea of getting him through these two games.

"We'll have a three-day break, get him increasing his rehab and his workload, with the idea that maybe sometime this weekend for that Sunday game (vs. Philadelphia) that we can get him back to normal.

Lopez has averaged 13.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 24.6 minutes in two games since returning from a seven-game absence due to a sprained right foot.

Kris Humphries will return to the starting lineup on Tuesday night alongside Lopez, Johnson said. Reggie Evans had started the last five games at power forward, leaving Humphries to come off the bench.

During that span, Humphries averaged 16.7 minutes and shot 26.3 percent from the field.

Jerry Stackhouse (sore right knee) and Josh Childress (sore left foot) will miss Tuesday night's game due to injury.