The New Jersey Nets were in a celebratory mood on Sunday after starting point guard Deron Williams knocked down a franchise high 57 points in a 104-101 win over the Charlotte Bobcats. The club would not be able to savor Williams’ historic accomplishment for long though, as the Nets announced on their team website Monday that the victory will cost them the services of starting center Brook Lopez for the next three weeks, after he sprained his right ankle in the third quarter of Sunday’s contest.
New Jersey General Manager Billy King issued a statement that his talented young big man is now in a walking boot, to insure that Lopez does not do more damage to his ankle. The team will reevaluate the center on March 23, and will give an update on his condition at that time. The former Stanford player had recently returned to action after recovering from a broken bone in his right foot early in the campaign. Lopez has played in just five games this season and has averaged 19.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per contest.
The injury could greatly affect the chances of New Jersey and the Orlando Magic consummating a trade that would send All-Star center Dwight Howard To New Jersey in exchange for a package of players with Lopez as the centerpiece. The two teams were reportedly deep in discussions when Lopez suffered the break; which put the talks on hold. There had been speculation that the two teams had opened the negotiations after Lopez returned to the court late last month. With the trade deadline in the Association on March 15, it may keep the Magic from once again pulling the trigger on a deal with the Nets.