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Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Brook Lopez back at practice

By Mike Mazzeo
Special to ESPNNewYork.com

New Jersey Nets center Brook Lopez practiced for the first time this season on Tuesday.

Lopez is out until at least through Thursday, according to the team's official injury report, and coach Avery Johnson told reporters the team isn't ruling out a return before the Feb. 24-26 All-Star break.

"I feel that I could (make it back before the All-Star break)," Lopez said, according to ESPN.com's TrueHoop blog, NetsAreScorching. Lopez added that it's not his decision, though.

Lopez has yet to play this season because of a broken foot. The 23-year-old suffered the injury in the team's second preseason game in New York on Dec. 21 and had surgery two days later.

He has missed over seven weeks. The team put a conservative timetable at six-to-eight weeks at the time of the injury.

The Nets (8-21) have missed Lopez's scoring ability in the post. Lopez led the team in scoring last season, averaging a career-best 20.4 points per game.

Prior to 2011-12, Lopez had never missed a game in his first three NBA seasons. He owns career averages of 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds -- he did average a career-low 6.0 rebounds per game last season, though -- on 50.4 percent shooting.

Last week, Nets general manager Billy King said that he expects Lopez back after the All-Star break, possibly on Feb. 28 in Dallas -- their first game following the break.

Small forwards DeShawn Stevenson (knee) and Shawne Williams (shoulder) are questionable for Wednesday night's game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Stevenson has been out for the last two weeks.

Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.