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Despite the anxiety amongst faithfuls around Milwaukee Bucks camp after the extended layoff of Brook Lopez for a back surgery recovery, there’s still hopes within the organization that the starting big man would eventually return to continue his 2021-2022 season. 

After a successful medical surgery on Thursday, Lopez was placed on an indefinite timeline of return. As such, head coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters before the Bucks’ 97-93 road conquest against the Toronto Raptors that the team and the center didn’t expect that an extended setback was about to happen after the long weeks of rehabilitation was conducted.

“It’s just something that’s probably been happening in there and got to a point where he couldn’t play. We hoped rest and rehab and things like that would resolve it and it hasn’t.”

Lopez hasn’t played this season since the opening night of the Bucks against the Brooklyn Nets in October. There are speculations surrounding that the back surgery of the veteran has blown any chances of his comeback for the defending champs. 

Yet, as provided by Eric Nehm of The Athletic based on his sources, the Bucks are high-spirited and determined for Lopez’s healing, as comments on post surgery have detailed optimistic signs about the big man not sustaining a career-ending condition after the medical treatment.

There is optimism within the organization, though, that Lopez could return this season, per a team source. And while this is the 14th NBA season for the 33-year-old Lopez, Budenholzer told reporters the team does not believe this surgery has a chance to be career-threatening.

“No, the feedback, the conversations, the follow-up after this morning was very, very positive, including expecting him to be able to play and be productive,” Budenholzer said. “I think the surgery today has been done on multiple basketball players, multiple athletes, multiple sports. Return to play is very, very often successful.”

– Eric Nehm of The Athletic; After Brook Lopez’ back surgery, what’s next for the big man and the Bucks?

For the meantime, to lessen the heavy loads of reigning Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and fan-favorite Bobby Portis, GM Jon Horst tapped a positive reinforcement for the frontcourt slate — DeMarcus Cousins. While the big man is now in the shell of his former self, he can still be relied on to produce ample points on three-way level and provide mental toughness within the locker room. 

Lopez is a staple of the Bucks’ two-way dominance. A 7’0″ sniper from downtown, he truly fits with Antetokounmpo’s back-to-basket play style while anchoring the Cream City’s interior spot on the defensive end. Without his presence, it’ll be difficult to fill the holes that he vacated. But since an uplifting update was given, there’s nothing but hope and prayer that should be followed for the jolly big to stage a comeback sooner.