Six days passed since having surgery on a lateral meniscus tear on his left knee, and Lakers forward Metta World Peace arrived at the team’s facility in noticeably high spirits.
World Peace walked without crutches. He rebounded shots for children attending the Lakers’ press conference announcing former Lakers coach Bill Sharman raffling off his 2010 NBA championship ring to raise money for eight different charities. World Peace reiterated he’s “very excited” surrounding the progress of his surgery.
But World Peace refused to divulge whether he’s ahead of schedule regarding the Lakers’ initial estimate that he’s stay out for at least six weeks.
“I can’t tell you what I can and what I can’t do,” World Peace said. “But I’m very pleased with the surgery.”
World Peace also declined to speculate whether this will mark his last season on the Lakers. He recently told NBA.com that he’s asked his agent, Marc Cornstein, about possibly seeking an extension instead of exercising his $7.7 million player option. If World Peace exercises his option, the Lakers could waive him via the amnesty provision. Cornstein told this newspaper that the conversation’s a “little premature,” though maintained “all options are possible.”
“It’s not appropriate right now with the season to talk about my own future,” World Peace said. “We have to talk about what we’re doing as a team and all the right things.”
There’s a good reason World Peace sounded optimistic, though, regarding his first knee surgery in his 14-year NBA career.
“[Doctors] said my knee was looking great outside of the meniscus tear,” said World Peace, who said he’s had numerous elbow and finger surgeries. “They said the knee is looking great for someone who played 14 years in the NBA. I was excited after the surgery. I was good and saw the results and other things in my knee that looked really good. There’s virtually no where and tear and things like that. It’s amazing.”
World Peace said that he suffered the injury specifically in the second quarter of the Lakers’ loss March 25 to the Golden State Warriors during a post-up play against Harrison Barnes. World Peace said his left foot and knee turned in an awkward position and that Barnes wasn’t at fault.
“At first, I didn’t know what it was,” World Peace said. “All of a sudden you can’t walk or can’t run. I thought something was wrong here.”
World Peace then told Lakers trainer Gary Vitti at halftime and sat out the rest of the game. The Lakers have gone 3-1 in his absence, though the Lakers have lacked both World Peace’s energy and defense. He’s 12.8 points per game, his highest scoring output in four seasons with the Lakers
“They’re playing really well,” World Peace said. “The ball is moving.”
The Utah Jazz (39-36) hold the eighth playoff spot over the Lakers (39-36) with seven games remaining because of a regular-season tie breaker. World Peace’s return would hinge both on the Lakers making the postseason and advancing past the first round.
Said World Peace: “Just wait and see.”
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