Still no timetable for Suns' Lopez

By John Hollinger

PORTLAND -- Robin Lopez worked out at the Suns’ Game 6 shootaround Thursday, but don’t expect any Brandon Roy-style dramatic returns anytime soon. The bulging disk in his back pinched a nerve and caused a loss of strength in his right leg, and working his way back into playing shape from that setback is a much more arduous process than Roy's return from torn meniscus surgery.

The Suns emphasized again that there is still no timeline for his return, and an appearance in the second round seems extremely unlikely.

“I feel a lot better but I still have a ways to go,” said Lopez. “I just started running and you can kind of tell that a little bit.”

“Right now, for me it’s all about getting the strength back in my right leg. As anyone who has gone through a bulging disk can tell you, you don’t really know how long that’s going to last. It can take a couple weeks, or it can take another month and a half.

“We’ll start him tonight,” joked Suns coach Alvin Gentry, in reference to Roy’s unexpected return in Game 4. “That’s our big surprise.”

“He’s coming along. We’ll see what happens, but he’s still a little ways away. [But] he’s made unbelievable improvement.”

But again, no hard dates.

“There really isn’t a [timetable],” said Gentry. “We’ll just follow the doctors’ advice. He’s made a lot of progress over the last week and a half, and we’ll just see where that takes us.”

As for Lopez, he’s just relieved to be taking part again, even in a limited fashion, and he said he may be able to increase the workload this weekend.

“It’s nice to change it up a little bit,” he said of his work on the court today. “Right now we’re isolating different actions, but putting it all together, that’s totally different.”