Lopez practices, may return vs. Knicks

BROOK LOPEZ of the Brooklyn Nets participated in the team’s 5-on-5 practice Monday and will be a game-time decision against the New York Knicks on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning in Manila).

The 7-foot center has missed the last five games due to a mild right foot sprain. Nets coach Avery Johnson said that Lopez needs to go through a full-contact practice and recover before he can play in a game.

Lopez has been out since initially suffering the injury on Nov. 28. He underwent a battery of tests — including a precautionary MRI — which showed that the injury was unrelated to the two right foot fractures he suffered last season.

The Nets were 1-4 in the games he has missed so far.

Lopez, who signed a four-year, $60 million contract with the Nets in the offseason, is averaging 18.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks this season. Noli Cruz

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