New Jersey Nets center Brook Lopez suffered a stress fracture in his foot in the NBA preseason and originally was slated to miss six to eight weeks with the injury. The Nets announced on Friday that their star center would make a return to the lineup against the Chicago Bills in the United Center on Saturday afternoon. Lopez was a very important piece for the Nets and the team has struggled without him on the court.
"We've needed Brook all year," Deron Williams told The Star-Ledger after Thursday's loss. "That changes everything. That changes our team just him being out there. It takes the pressure off me, off of (Kris Humphries); it opens things up. He commands double teams. It's going to be a different team."
Lopez's return isn't just getting back a good player into the lineup, it's also getting back the potential centerpiece for any trade involving the Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard. The Nets tried to trade for Howard earlier in the season, and it involved Lopez and two first-round draft picks. They're expected to make another run at Howard; getting Lopez back on the court and healthy is the first step.
For more on Lopez and and the Nets, be sure to visit the SB Nation blog NetsDaily.