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Lakers’ Matt Barnes back playing, says knee is all good now

Jul 29, 2011, 6:36 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs Getty Images

Matt Barnes has to feel like he has a clean slate in Los Angeles.

He struggled last season with the triangle offense and finding his rhythm, then he missed 26 games with right nee surgery. He came back in time for the playoffs, but he was not 100 percent and couldn’t contribute much as the Lakers got smacked around by the Mavericks.

Next season he’s got a new coach in Mike Brown and a new system. A chance to prove himself again. And his knee appears to be healthy, from what he told Marc Spears of Yahoo. After taking some time to let his body rest when the season in, Barnes was back at it getting some run in the San Francisco Pro-Am. He got in a lot of time on the court, took some hard fouls in a physical game and kept on playing.

While his legs were a little tired, he said his knee was fine.

The former UCLA star said he just wants to be ready for next season — whenever it starts — and to help the Lakers bounce back from an early playoff exit for them.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve been through in my life – to finally be a Laker, not being able to contribute,” Barnes, who exercised his $1.9 million option for next season. “That’s not to say we would have won. But I know I could’ve helped out as far as physicality, defense, rebounding, toughness and knocking down shots. That’s all the things I could do and not being able to be out there killed me.”

  1. cosanostra71 - Jul 29, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    He was starting to hit a groove when he got injured, and just wasn’t the same after that. I hope he’s healthy for next year, our bench needs some upgrading.

  2. 00maltliquor - Jul 31, 2011 at 12:05 AM

    I love MB. Dude grabs a lot of rebounds, perticularly offensive and plays hard.

    • cosanostra71 - Jul 31, 2011 at 4:16 AM

      As a Lakers fan, based on his limited showings last year I’d argue this.

      But as an NBA fan, I have to agree. He pushes hard on the offensive boards and he plays hard all the time. He has a nice stroke and can hit the open 3. He is fundamentally sound on the defensive end and very physical.

      As a Lakers fan, I hope he returns to the form I described from my overall basketball fan perspective. He clearly has the ability to.

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