Lopez plays for Nets for the 1st time in 2012

Published: Sunday, Feb. 19 2012 11:01 p.m. MST

NEWARK, N.J. — New Jersey Nets center Brook Lopez played for the first time this season on Sunday night after missing the first 32 games with a broken right foot.

Lopez was hurt in a preseason game against the New York Knicks and had surgery just before Christmas.

Lopez, who was the Nets' leading scorer last season at 20.4 points per game, hit his first shot against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Nets coach Avery Johnson said Lopez will sit out Monday's game against New York and play Wednesday against Orlando.

LIN WANTS TO SHIELD FAMILY: Jeremy Lin is trying to shield his family in Taiwan from Linsanity.

Lin requested Sunday that the media there respect the privacy of his relatives, who he said are being "bombarded" since his emergence as an NBA star.

Lin said: "I just want people to respect the privacy of my relatives in Taiwan and I think hopefully this will get back to everybody because they need to live their lives as well."

Lin is the NBA's first American-born Taiwanese player. His parents moved to California in the 1970s.

His grandmother is among his relatives still in Taiwan and even she is becoming well known after Lin's success in the last two weeks.

Lin had 28 points and a career-high 14 assists Sunday in the Knicks' 104-97 victory over Dallas.

ROSE MAY PLAY TONIGHT: Derrick Rose left the Chicago Bulls' practice facility on Sunday afternoon with a smile on his face and no noticeable hitch in his step.

It was a positive sign for Rose, considering his ailing lower back continues to be the topic of conversation as the Bulls approach the All-Star break. He has missed five consecutive games, and the team has gone 3-2 during the stretch. The Bulls are 7-3 overall without Rose this season.

Although Tom Thibodeau said it would be a game-time decision whether to play Rose against the Hawks on today, the Bulls coach admitted Sunday's practice signaled progress for the reigning MVP. Rose participated in various contact drills without issue.

"Each day, he's done more," Thibodeau said. "He's responded well. He hasn't had any problems. So today was more physical. (He) defended pick-and-rolls, went one-on-one, defended the post, played in the post, defended catch-and-shoot. So he did a lot. We'll see how he is tomorrow."

Rose was unavailable to the media following practice. Before Saturday's loss to the Nets, he said he was feeling "decent" and wanted to make sure the pain was totally gone.

Thibodeau was pressed on whether he plans to get Rose on the floor before Sunday's All-Star Game in Orlando. The Bulls have two more games before the break.

"When he's ready to play, he's ready to play," Thibodeau said. "Whether it's tomorrow or later, I'm not going to base it on anything other than him being ready to play — not our opponent, not the All-Star Game, not anything. But if he's cleared medically and he's ready to play, then he'll play."

LEBRON LANDS ON FANS: Heat star LeBron James apparently got too close for two young fans' comfort Sunday.

James' momentum inadvertently carried him into a row of courtside seats during the third quarter of Miami's game against the Orlando Magic. James ran out to defend a 3-point attempt taken by Ryan Anderson, leaping to contest the shot. As he landed, he tumbled into the seats and atop two young boys.

The boys were not injured, though appeared briefly shaken. A Heat employee approached the boys and the two adults sitting with them, and was told that everyone was fine.

James also checked on the kids later in the game.

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