Will Brook Lopez Injury Kill Hopes of Dwight Howard to Nets Deal?

Holly MacKenzieNBA Lead BloggerMarch 5, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 21:  Brook Lopez #11 of the New Jersey Nets looks to pass against the New York Knicks during their pre season game  at Madison Square Garden on December 21, 2011 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Brook Lopez was on crutches after the the New Jersey Nets 104-101 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats, but received some positive news Monday afternoon. According to ESPN New York, the team announced that he would miss just three weeks after going down with a right ankle sprain against the Bobcats.

Lopez will be in a walking boot, and the Nets will update his status on March 23.

The 23 year old suffered the injury in the third quarter of Sunday night's game in Charlotte and did not return. He underwent X-rays later that night, but the team did not reveal the news until Monday.

This is great news for Lopez. After missing all but five games this season with a broken right toe, the setback was feared to have been worse. Unfortunately for the Nets, the damage was done when Lopez went down.  

With Lopez in a walking boot, and the trade deadline rapidly approaching in 10 days, making a move for Orlando's Dwight Howard just got significantly more difficult for the Nets. While New Jersey is the most realistic destination for Howard after his other preferred locations have had too many issues pop up—most notably Howard's desire to be the leader of a team—this new wrinkle means that Howard could very well remain in a Magic uniform through the deadline. 

If you're counting down the days until the deadline waiting on a blockbuster trade to go down for Howard, well, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. Speaking of disappointment, think about the Magic fans who are now monitoring the status of Lopez as they hope to find a way to hang on to their franchise player.

Rough times all around. Excluding Deron Williams, of course. It's a great day to be Williams, coming off of an NBA-best 57-point performance despite Lopez's absence.