Bucks' Brook Lopez Underwent Surgery on Back Injury; Out Indefinitely

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 2, 2021

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 10: Brook Lopez #11 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts after a basket against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first half during a preseason game at Fiserv Forum on October 10, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 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 Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery on a back injury that has ailed him nearly the entire 2021-22 season.

The 33-year-old was injured in the Bucks' season-opening win over the Brooklyn Nets. He averaged 12.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 27.2 minutes per game for the Bucks last season. His evolution as a perimeter threat took a slight step back, however, as he shot just 33.8 percent from three when compared to his career-best 36.5 from 2018-19.

Lopez has largely stayed injury-free in his career, playing in 70 or more games in 10 of his 13 seasons (including the 68 he played in the COVID-19-shortened 2019-20 campaign). 

The 7-footer offers a dynamic the Bucks need—a big man who can stretch the floor while playing alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo. While Milwaukee doesn't have the most athletic frontcourt with Lopez on the court, his ability to protect the rim (1.8 blocks per game in his career) has also been a plus.

And his loss undoubtedly takes away a dimension from Milwaukee's offense. While he remains out, the Bucks will be forced to continue to experiment with smaller lineups.