Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez underwent his fourth foot surgery in the last three years on Saturday, but doctors are hoping that this was the last time after they re-positioned the bones in order to prevent the likelihood of a another injury.
Unlike in the past when they just went in and repair the broken bone, doctors performed a second procedure as well called a “first metatarsal osteotomy”. It’s supposed to put less pressure on that bone in the foot to prevent the issue from re-occurring yet again.
“With this procedure, we both fixed the broken bone (fifth metatarsal) in Brook’s right foot and re-positioned another bone, so that his sole of his foot will bear weight more evenly than before,” said Dr. Riley Williams III, one of the doctors who performed the surgery. “The re-positioning portion of the surgery lessens the stress on the fractured bone, and decreases the likelihood of re-injury in the future.”
This type of surgery has been performed on other players in the past with mixed results. There was Grant Hill, who played for nine years afterward, there was Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who played for seven years after, but there was also Yao Ming, who was forced to retire despite the surgery.
Lopez is still just 25-years-old, but it’s scary that he’s already had so many serious foot injuries so this type of surgery was obviously necessary. Even if he ends up being like Yao, he has to try something because how is any team going to bank on him with the injury history that he’s already had in his brief NBA career?
Lopez averaged 23.8 points with 6.9 rebounds per 36 minutes with a true shooting percentage of 62.9 in 17 games this season. He’s owed $14.7 million this year and $32.5 million over the next two years before he hits free agency before the 2015-16 season.