At least once per summer week, Lakers head athletic trainer Gary Vitti exchanges text messages with every player on L.A.’s roster, just to find out “where they are in the world and what they’re doing.”
On Friday, Vitti gave us an update on some of the players with whom he’s connected in the past day or two:
Kobe Bryant: Ran his camp in Santa Barbara before heading to Las Vegas to join the U.S. Men’s National Team in preparation for the 2012 London Olympics. Vitti texts regularly with Bryant about No. 24′s body, and provided great detail into Bryant’s plans to get the same Orthokine/Regonokine treatment on his knee that was successful last summer either before, during or subsequent to the Olympics.
Pau Gasol: The Spaniard, who turned 32 on Friday just a few days removed from watching his Spanish National Team soccer brothers win the Euro 2012 championship, is already with the hoops national squad prepping for the Olympics. Can we request a Kobe-Pau gold medal game, please?
Andrew Bynum: Training in his Atlanta home working to continually strengthen his knees in particular after a season he came into healthy, remained healthy — missing only one game due to an ankle sprain — and left healthy. Like Bryant, Bynum will go to Germany to look into the same procedure as his All-Star teammate.
Metta World Peace: Vitti sent this message along: “Metta is in Vancouver working hard, and will be heading home to New York City soon.” Before World Peace went north to train, he was seen working out at the team’s practice facility. Last summer, the lockout particularly hurt World Peace, who was unable to rehabilitate an imbalance in his kinetic chain (details to come in a piece with Lakers head physical therapist Dr. Judy Seto) and therefore came into camp hurt and out of shape. By season’s end, thanks in part to Vitti, Seto and strength/conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco, World Peace was running, cutting and jumping all over the place. Vitti said he looks fantastic.
Christian Eyenga, Andrew Goudelock, Darius Morris: The three youngsters have been into the team’s facility often, working in the weight room with DiFrancesco and on the basketball court (individually only) with player development coach Phil Handy. All three will play in the Las Vegas Summer League alongside rookies Darius Johnson-Odom and Robert Sacre.
Steve Blake and Josh McRoberts, the only other non-free agents* on the current roster, are training regularly as well.
*Free agents: Matt Barnes, Devin Ebanks, Jordan Hill, Troy Murphy, Ramon Sessions
We’ll check back in with Vitti and the players momentarily … the 2012-13 season is only a few months away, folks.