World Peace Poised to Return

Lakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemIn a surprise development, Metta World Peace is set to return early from March 28 knee surgery, with the potential to play in Tuesday night’s game against New Orleans.

After running on a treadmill, World Peace played 3-on-3 with teammates at Monday’s practice, leaving Mike D’Antoni to say that MWP was “80 or 90 percent” going to see the court against the Hornets. World Peace agreed.

“It’s not about how strong I am playing tomorrow night,” said World Peace. “It’s about how strong I was playing three games ago … I was ready to play.”

If World Peace has no swelling or negative response to his activity on Monday, he will be cleared to play on Tuesday, cutting his expected rehabilitation time of six weeks in half.

That original timeline would have had MWP out until early May. However, according to team spokesman John Black, there was no swelling in the knee after surgery, and its the swelling that typically keeps players on the shelf.

World Peace said that doctors “were amazed at how the swelling didn’t even exist.” Rookie Robert Sacre called MWP “Megatron … a machine,” and even Kobe Bryant – of course known to play through injuries – made note.

“It’s still extremely impressive,” Bryant said after relaying that he’s not surprised given World’s penchant for taking care of himself. “I call him Logan now. He’s Wolverine … Honestly, you have to be really disciplined and take care of yourself from the beginning. It’s one thing to have an injury and then try to catch up. But when you’re already there and already taking care of yourself, it makes recovery that much faster.”

Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles ClippersL.A. can certainly use a boost on the wing, as Bryant has been playing nearly 48 minutes a night since Steve Nash went out early at Sacramento on March 30. The Lakers have no room for error, trailing Utah by a half game with five to play, needing to lose at least one fewer game than the tiebreaker-holding Jazz. What can MWP bring back to his team?

“A huge spark,” said Bryant. “Defensively, he’s tenacious and he brings a certain level of physicality that can really (impact) a game.”

World Peace, who has averaged 12.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.70 steals in 70 games (64 starts) this season, leads the Lakers in individual plus/minus on the season.