EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Throughout his seven-year NBA career, Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Barnes hasn't missed much time due to injury. Sidelined following surgery to repair a tear of the lateral meniscus in his right knee, Barnes is adjusting, but clearly itches to be back on the floor.
"It's only been, shoot, two weeks on Tuesday. You know what I mean? It feels like a month and a half. So I'm just sort of biding my time," he said Thursday afternoon following practice.
Still, Barnes is pleased with his progress thus far. He has begun working on the elliptical machine, and continues lifting weights. The hope is to begin running next week. The key, he says, is not to rush the process.
"I don't want to jeopardize myself by coming back too early," he said. "If I rush back, I can hurt myself and really set myself back to where I may not be able to get back on the court, period. So really just making sure I'm healthy, and strong enough. Just get ready for the stretch run. I want to be back, and stay there. I don't want to be back too early, and have to take a few steps back."
In 37 games, Barnes has averaged 7.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.7 assists while shooting 47.4 percent in 20.8 minutes. He suffered the injury Jan. 7 versus New Orleans, has missed nine games and is expected to miss approximately eight weeks total.
Having never suffered a significant injury, Barnes is trying to stay motivated by being engaged in the steps of his rehabilitation.
"This is new to me, so I'm excited with the process, to see what I can do each day, to see how I'm adding weight each day and how much flexibility [I've added], and that's all new to me," he said.
In a twist befitting the times, Barnes is keeping fans updated on his progress with frequent updates via Twitter, helping provide access to the rehab process they may not otherwise see and also allowing him to change the subject.
"It's the one thing every time I look on there," Barnes says. "It's 'How [are you] doing?' Just to kind of give them a little thing, so throughout the day it's not all I get asked or that people want to know."