Los Angeles Lakers center Brook Lopez is expected to play a big role for the team after they acquired him in a pre-draft trade. With his ability to space the floor and protect the rim, he will bring a lot to the team that they have previously lacked.
There are some minor injury concerns for Lopez coming into the season however, as he has been dealing with back spasms. He has said that it is very minor, but Luke Walton and the Lakers staff have been playing things very cautiously with him and he’s been limited in practices so far.
With the Lakers set to open up their preseason on Saturday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Walton revealed that Lopez probably won’t play via the Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Luke Walton said Brook Lopez still hasn’t been cleared for contact, says he ‘probably’ won’t play in Saturday’s preseason opener.
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) September 27, 2017
This is undoubtedly Walton and the Lakers continuing to be cautious with Lopez as having him 100 percent healthy for the regular season is far more important than any preseason game. Lopez has had foot issues in the past, but has played in at least 72 games each of the past three seasons.
Even though Lopez isn’t doing contact drills in practice yet, he has participated in all other drills and workouts and by all accounts should be fine once the regular season begins.
The Lakers will have plenty of choices to replace Lopez in the starting lineup for their opener. Andrew Bogut would be a possibility if his visa issues are squared off by that time as a veteran. Ivica Zubac could also get the nod as could Larry Nance Jr., the Lakers’ fastest player, if Walton wants to go small.
It is unfortunate that Lopez probably won’t suit up, but in the big picture this is more of a minor inconvenience than a potential issue.