Avery: Lopez 'close' to his best

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Nets coach Avery Johnson says center Brook Lopez is “close” to being the same player he was before he sprained his right foot and missed seven games.

“He’s getting there. Everyday he’s building more and more confidence,” Johnson said.

Lopez, 24, is averaging 14.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and shooting 43.9 percent from the field since returning from the injury (four games).

Johnson said he is no longer on a minutes restriction.

Lopez said his foot is “doing well” and “there’s no problem.”

He said his game is not quite where he wants it to be yet, but attributes that to rust, not his foot.

In 14 games before the injury, Lopez was averaging 18.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and shooting 53.4 percent.

Jerry Stackhouse, who has missed five games due to a sore right knee, went through the full practice Saturday.

“We’ll see how he recovers. If he recovers well then we expect him to be in uniform (for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers),” Johnson said.

• The Nets worked out closing out quarters at practice Saturday. It’s something they haven’t done well during their 2-8 December skid.