Jodie Meeks appeared in a relaxed mood, walking out of the Lakers’ practice facility in gym clothing and flip flops.
Yes, it’s the sign that the Lakers are ready to relax after ending a hyped 2012-13 season with a first-round sweep to the San Antonio Spurs. But Meeks’ casual foot attire also reflects the partially torn ligament in his left ankle. Moments after the Lakers guard said in his exit interview that he still doesn’t feel comfortable wearing shoes, Meeks told this newspaper he expects a full recovery will happen within four to six weeks.
“More than anything, it’s just rest,” said Meeks, who will also treat his ankle with ice and electronic stimulation. “The wear and tear of the season is hard.”
Meeks believed he felt pain after stepping on an opponent’s foot after driving in for a layup during the Lakers’ 91-79 Game 1 loss Sunday to San Antonio. Though Meeks left with 9:11 in the second quarter to get his ankle retaped. he then appeared later in the second half. Meeks played a limited role, scoring only four points on 1 of 4 shooting in 20 minutes.
The swelling persisted, forcing him to miss the following two practices and the Lakers’ Game 2 loss against San Antonio. Once an MRI confirmed he had a partially torn ligament in his left ankle, the Lakers considered Meeks doubtful to play.
“It feels all right,” Meeks said. “I will have a full recovery and I will be ready for next season.”
The Lakers have a $1.6 million team option on Meeks for next season. Though it’s likely the Lakers will exercise that option once they take care of everything else surrounding free agency, Meeks said that issue didn’t come up in his exit interview with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak.
“I don’t really need to focus on that,” Meeks said. “I just need to try to have a good summer of training and get it back to 100 percent with my ankle and let them do what they have to do. It’s a business. So we’ll have to wait and see. I want to be here. I love the city, teammates and the coaching staff. It was a good year for me.”
The Lakers loved Meeks’ positive attitude, ability to make three-point shots and overall hustle. But Meeks remained inconsistent with his shot (38.7 percent), his fast-break drives and defense.
What would Meeks attribute to that inconsistency?
“I can’t really pinpoint one thing. But the season is over with,” Meeks said. “You can’t really dwell on it. You can’t really hang your head of disappointing finishes or anything like that. We’ll have a hard summer of training and getting my ankle back to 100 percent.”
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