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No Practice, but Brook Lopez still on track for Opening Night

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Mike Lawrie

So far, so good on health.

Brook Lopez wasn't back on the court Saturday and his status for Open Practice Sunday is unknown but Lionel Hollins kept saying the right things about the possibility of his return to the starting lineup Wednesday when the Nets open their season in Boston vs. the Celtics.

Lopez is the only Nets player who might be out Wednesday.  Everyone else is healthy and ready to go.

The decision to play Lopez will be left to the team's medical and training staff but Hollins told reporters at practice Saturday that he's confident his center will be ready for the season opener.  Hollins has said that Lopez will not need a practice before taking the court, a policy departure from the last several seasons.  Hollins has a back-up plan if need be, telling beat writers that he'd start Kevin Garnett up front with either Mason Plumlee, Mirza Teletovic or Andrei Kirilenko filling in. One possibility, Hollins said, was having Plumlee replace Lopez, keeping KG at power forward.

Hollins seems likely to start Bojan Bogdanovic at shooting guard, despite some shooting woes. The 6'8" Croatian had a bad shooting preseason as Mike Mazzeo writes, noting he shot 35 percent from the field and 22.7 percent from 3-point range. Although Bogdanovic missed a lot shots, Hollins said he likes what he's seen otherwise and noted the transition he's been facing.

"He’s progressing. It’s still a process, but I like what he’s done and I’m sure he’ll be a better shooter as we go along," said the coach. "He’s been a good shooter in Europe, but he’s a really good basketball player. I just want him to go out and be aggressive and make plays."

Meanwhile, Jorge Gutierrez, the biggest beneficiary of the Marquis Teague trade, told The Brooklyn Game he isn't celebrating just yet, noting he hasn't "signed yet." Teams have until 5 p.m. Monday to finalize roster and GMs are constantly watching the waiver wire as teams cut down. But The Brooklyn Game reports that team officials have said that Gutierrez will make the team as third string point guard.

"I've always felt confident," Gutierrez told Devin Kharpertian. "It doesn't matter if there was another guy here, I always felt confident in what I'm doing, because I come in to work and work every day."

Finally, Hollins dismissed any concern about the wrist wrap Deron Williams has worn on his shooting hand (which he used to hit half of his shots, including three pointers, in preseason.)

"When he’s played, he’s played with it on and it hasn’t done anything with his shooting. It’s not even an issue," Hollins said.