Brook Lopez came back from a sprained foot on Dec. 14 after missing seven games, but he is not quite back to where he was before the injury.

Following yesterday's practice, Lopez said there is no pain in his right foot, but admitted he is playing with some rust since returning.

In the 14 games before prior to the injury, Lopez averaged 18.5 points on 53.4 percent shooting from the field, but has struggled on 43.9 percent shooting in his four games since coming back, averaging 14.8 points.

"I don't attribute that to the foot or anything, it's just getting back. It's just going to come with more playing," Lopez said. "[The foot's] doing well. There's no problem."

Avery Johnson recognizes Lopez is not quite where he wants him to be, where he was before the injury, but the Nets coach has seen progress and said the center will not be on any kind of minutes restriction. In the past two games, Lopez has averaged roughly 29 minutes, equaling his average for the season.

"He's close. He's getting there," Johnson said. "Every day he's building more and more confidence. Every day. He had a power dunk today where basically he was way above the rim over Reggie [Evans] was in there. That's pretty good for Brook. To go at Reggie with a power dunk like that, that shows a sign of building confidence."

* Jerry Stackhouse has missed the past five games with a sore right knee, but was a full participant in practice for the second straight game.

Johnson said the veteran swingman would be a game-time decision for today against the 76ers, but the coach seemed cautiously optimistic Stackhouse would return. Stackhouse, 38, has averaged 6.8 points this season, while shooting 42.9 percent on 3-pointers, the latter marking a career-high.