Bucks’ Lopez undergoes back surgery; return date uncertain

Sports

FILE – Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez is shown during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, in Milwaukee. Lopez has undergone surgery to address the back injury that has kept him from playing since the opening game of the season. The Bucks announced Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, that Lopez had back surgery earlier that day in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez has undergone surgery to address the back injury that has kept him from playing since the opening game of the season.

The Bucks announced Thursday that Lopez had back surgery earlier that day in Los Angeles. Team officials didn’t provide a timetable for his eventual return but said “Lopez will continue to be listed as out and updates on his rehabilitation progress will be provided as appropriate.”

Lopez played 28 minutes and had eight points, five rebounds and three blocks in a season-opening victory over the Brooklyn Nets, but the 7-footer hasn’t played since. The 33-year-old center is in his fourth season with the Bucks and 14th season overall.

He averaged 12.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks last season while helping the Bucks win the NBA title.

Bucks officials said Robert Watkins performed the surgery, with oversight from team doctor William Raasch.

Bobby Portis has been filling Lopez’s spot in the starting lineup and has averaged 15.1 points and 8.3 rebounds. The Bucks also signed DeMarcus Cousins this week to add some frontcourt depth.

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