Foot injuries have a history of interrupting the careers of NBA big men and even ending them.
Bill Walton, Yao Ming and Zydrunas Ilgauskas all had their careers cut short by foot injuries. But a month after having his fourth foot surgery, Brook Lopez is confident he will not meet the same fate.
- PHOTOS: Celebrities attend 'Avengers: Endgame' premiere in Los Angeles22 Pictures
- PHOTOS: Memorial spotlights the man behind Nipsey Hussle rap persona14 Pictures
Lopez made his first comments to reporters since breaking his right foot on Dec. 20 in Philadelphia when he played 44 minutes in a one-point overtime loss.
“It's not something I'm worried about,” Lopez said at halftime of Sunday’s win over New Orleans “I don't think I can go on the court and play basketball having any doubts in my mind. We've done everything we can and I can at this point to take care of it, and it's been taken care of.”
Lopez underwent surgery on the fifth metatarsal of his right foot and also had a second procedure called a first metatarsal osteotomy in which another bone was repositioned to create less stress from the rigors of playing basketball over an 82-game season.
“They're trying to put more pressure on the inside of my foot,” Lopez said while calling his orthopedic surgeons the best in the country. “Essentially they lowered the arch on the inside of my foot so there should be more pressure on there.”
Lopez had a screw removed from his foot following last season when he as an All Star in the first year of a four-year, $60 million max contract. He was limited to five games in the 2011-12 season due to a foot injury as well.
“I'm not scared at all,” Lopez said. “I'm confident I'm going to get back on the floor and I'm going to do everything I can. There's no doubt in my mind that I'll be back out there playing with my guys. I'm going to do everything I can to be out there.”
Lopez attended just his second game since the team announced he was out for the season on Dec. 21.
Since having the surgery, Lopez said he has been eating his mother’s cooking, reading, writing and drawing but it still doesn’t take the sting away from not even being able to go into the weight room just yet.
“It's just good to be around the guys and enjoy their camaraderie,” Lopez said. “I've been on bed rest for about just over a month now. It's been tough. I guess I was going through some cabin fever.”
“I think it’s great that he is around,” head coach Jason Kidd said. “I think a lot of times guys get hurt and, not to say they are forgotten about, but they kind of stay away from the team. But he’s still a part of this team and I think it’s great to see him. Also to see that smile, laughing and joking [is good]. As much as he doesn’t like being hurt, it’s good to see his teammates.”
Terry reaches milestone
Jason Terry recorded his first career assist as a rookie for Atlanta on Nov. 2, 1999 while playing 11 minutes at Washington.
On Sunday, he reached a milestone in emphatic fashion, recording his 5,000th career assist on an alley-oop pass to Mason Plumlee for a dunk in the second quarter.
Like many talking about milestones, Terry seemed unaware of the mark but was certainly grateful for the longevity of his career.
“It’s a tribute to how long I’ve been in this league,” Terry said. “I feel very blessed to play this long. When you play this long, you hit milestones and I’ve had some great teammates along the way that can contribute to that success.”
Terry became the 10th active player to reach 5,000 assists and in an interesting twist, teammates Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Terry and Paul Pierce are eighth through 11th on the all-time list.
Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.