Brook Lopez: No return set yet

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Nets center Brook Lopez says he's confident that his rehab is going in the right direction, but did not offer a timetable as to when he'll return from a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot.

"I'm doing well," Lopez told reporters following the first quarter of Saturday night's game against the Miami Heat. "We just took an X-ray 30 minutes ago, and it came out negative."

Lopez is currently wearing a boot over his right foot. He thinks he'll be able to get the boot off in about a week, and that's "too long," he added.

Lopez is doing a lot of upper body work right now, and plans to get in the pool this week to do some work on an underwater treadmill. He hopes that next week he's standing up and doing some workouts and maybe even doing some spot shooting if he's lucky.

"Brook came into my office before the game, we spent a few minutes talking," coach Avery Johnson said after Saturday's game. "He's in good spirits. again, his rehab is going good.

"I don't wanna say he's ahead of schedule, but he's right on schedule. And again, we're looking forward to seeing him again on Monday. I think he's going to work out after our shootaround, and hopefully when we come back from this West Coast trip (on Jan. 16), play a few more home games, hopefully he'll at some point be able to travel with us so I can have him around and he can spend some more time with his teammates."

The 23-year-old underwent surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan on Dec. 23, so it's been about two weeks now. Lopez's original timetable for his return was six-to-eight weeks.

"I was extremely shocked," said Lopez, who suffered the injury during the team's final preseason game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. "I didn't see it coming at all. I thought it was a tweaked ankle or something."

Lopez had never missed a game in his first three NBA seasons prior to the right foot injury.

His twin brother, Phoenix Suns center Robin Lopez, suffered the exact same injury in 2009, and missed seven weeks.

"I guess somehow if the injury runs in the family, the recovery runs in it as well," Lopez said.

The Nets, who entered Saturday night's game against the Heat with a 2-6 record, have struggled without Lopez, who is their main interior scoring threat. Last season, he led the team with a career-high 20.4 points per game. Lopez's goal coming into the 2011-12 campaign was to improve his rebounding numbers, and he looked well on his way to doing that in the preseason before he suffered the right foot fracture.

"I don't really enjoy watching games or hearing about the NBA," said Lopez, who has resorted to doing a lot of other leisure activities like reading, writing and drawing while he's been out. "I really wanna be back out there and help my team in any way that I can."

Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.