New Jersey Nets center Brook Lopez has been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right foot and will undergo surgery tomorrow, according to multiple reports out of East Rutherford this afternoon.
Lopez sustained the injury in the first half of the Nets' preseason loss to the New York Knicks on last night, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
While the injury clearly throws a wrench in the Nets' short-term plans for this season, as Lopez was their leading scorer last season with 20.4 points per game, it also might have repercussions on their hopes of trading for Orlando Magic superstar Dwight Howard. Lopez has been rumored in recent weeks as the centerpiece of a potential trade package to bring D12 to the tri-state area.
Citing league sources, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Nets believe Lopez can return from surgery by early February. He notes that the trade deadline in this lockout-shortened season is March 15.
The Nets finished 0-2 against the Knicks in preseason play, and they open their regular season without Lopez on Monday night against the Washington Wizards.