Archive for the 'Luke Walton' Category

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Injury Update: Luke Walton

The Lakers could get a bench boost from within later this week, according to Coach Phil Jackson.

Luke Walton, who has played in only 24 of L.A.’s 72 games due to a pinched nerve in his lower back, may be ready to go sooner than later.

“Walton I think will start practicing next week,” said Phil Jackson. “(He) may even get on the court Thursday when we get back, get in a practice before the Utah game (Friday).”

The excellent-passing forward’s target return date has long been early April, so that he can get some game action in before L.A. begins its title defense in the playoffs.

Luke Walton Remains Out Indefinitely

59354315Luke Walton, who has appeared in only 24 games in the 2009-10 season due to a pinched nerve in his back, has not played since a five-minute, 44-second stint in Utah on Feb. 10.

Walton remains out indefinitely due to the pinched nerve, and there is no timetable for a possible return.

Walton Feels “Great,” Ready to Face Mavs

Luke’s back.

As in, he has returned from his back injury … not just that he’s back … you get it.

“I feel good,” said Walton, who returned for a six minute fourth quarter stint against San Antonio, his first action in 27 games. “I came in here and got treatment this morning, and I feel great right now. I’m excited … I told Phil I’d love to play more tonight.”

Walton explained prior to Wednesday’s game in Dallas that once his name gets called, he’ll forget all abou this back. It may be stiff in the morning, but, to be fair, it’s stiff every morning.

His primary focus in terms of basketball is to help improve L.A.’s ball movement, particularly with a second unit that managed not a single assist against the Spurs.

“It’s been missing in our offense for a while, just that fluid ball movement that the triangle is made for – the passing it to the open man, making the extra pass type of play,” said Walton. “I’m definitely going to try and do that as much as I can as opposed to go out there and try to score. Just get the ball moving and hope you get that flow back that makes us such a dangerous team.”

Phil Jackson thinks that will be the case.

“(Luke) just has a knack of playing, he knows how to play the game and fit in the system pretty well,” said Jackson. “He’ll help it out. We’ll see if he can play a few minutes tonight to give us some support.”

Luke Walton Set To Practice on Thursday

Luke WaltonLakers forward Luke Walton resumed basketball activities during Monday’s practice, and expects to go through a full practice on Thursday following the team’s back-to-back games against Houston and the Clippers.

Walton, who aggravated his back during L.A.’s Nov. 13 game in Denver, said that he has been feeling better on a daily basis, today managing to go through shooting drills, a game of 3-on-3 and the like with his teammates.

“It felt great,” he said of his back. “The worst part was the conditioning. My legs, (after) not playing for five or six weeks or (however) long it’s been.”

After a calming down period, Walton has been working extensively with L.A.’s training staff* throughout the last few weeks, focusing primarily on strengthening his core muscles.
*Pictured above with Lakers Athletic Performance Coordinator Alex McKechnie.

“It’s huge because those are all the muscles that protect you from injuries you have in your back,” he said. “We (have done) a lot more core strengthening work and we feel now that we’re at a place where it’s strong enough to play NBA-style games.”

Walton had aggravated his back in a similar fashion this preseason, admitting that he may have come back too quickly (a week and a half, instead of the suggested six weeks) to the point where he re-injured himself. He actually began to feel much better weeks ago, as with the initial injury, but he and the team have been much more conservative this time (24 games and counting) as he built up strength that is hoped to sustain him throughout the season.

In the meantime, it’s been a struggle for the ever-competitive Walton to sit on the sideline and watch, (even from the broadcast booth). He explained that while he observes, he’ll occasionally offer pointers to teammates while constantly evaluating where he may be able to help.

“Knowing the offense, knowing that we haven’t really been moving the ball, releasing pressure and the other little things that makes this offense run,” he said. “I know I can get in there and help the team.”

And in fairness, Walton’s ability to move the basketball is at least one explanation for why L.A.’s bench hasn’t been consistent this season.

In closing, when asked if the recent injury developments with Pau Gasol (strained hamstring) or Ron Artest (concussion) have increased his sense of urgency, Walton shook his head.

He’s been chomping at the bit since Nov. 13.

Walton Nails Broadcast Debut

Luke Walton - Spero DedesLuke Walton made his broadcast debut in L.A.’s Friday-Saturday games against Minnesota and Utah, and surprised no one that’s spoken with him by doing a terrific job alongside radio play-by-play man Spero Dedes on 710 ESPN.

Of course, Walton wasn’t going to sing his own praises.

“I had a great time doing the broadcasts, and was really impressed with Spero and how easy he made it for me,” said Walton.

Fair enough.

In that case, let’s talk to Dedes:

On Luke’s success in his first two games as a color analyst:
Spero Dedes: I expected that he was going to do well all along, and that was certainly the case. Luke is a very cerebral guy, as you know, and he’s a guy who thinks the game through as a player. When you put him in that position to analyze and commentate through the game, it’s a layup for him. We were breaking his chops for the first couple of minute, but he was great.

On Spero’s approach to the game working alongside a new partner:
Dedes: I’m used to Mychal (Thompson) ignoring me completely, so I tried to engage Luke a little bit more, ask him questions … I’m just kidding. But I did try to ask him what Phil (Jackson’s) thinking here, what his teammates are doing and so on, and Luke was offering really good nuggets along those lines all night long. One time, Lamar (Odom) made a defensive mistake, and Luke pointed it out right away, and the very next time down the floor defensively Lamar made the adjustment. Another sequence, Luke was talking about Ron Artest being a great defender, and Ron came up with a steal on the next possession. That made him look really good.

On the advantage of currently playing with the team for a broadcaster:
Dedes: Even Mychal’s not privy to that kind of stuff, because Luke’s working out with these guys even as he’s recovering from injury. Luke, I think, was apprehensive going into it, but I think he’s going to realize that once he’s done playing, whether it’s 10 years or 20, that this is a pretty good way to make a living for a guy that’s had a long and successful professional playing career.

Walton in the Booth

59129266Normally former Lakers forward Mychal Thompson mans the seat next to Spero Dedes for the team’s radio broadcast on 710ESPN, but due to a death in the family, MT will be missing the Lakers games against Minnesota and at Utah.

Keeping the seat warm is current Lakers forward Luke Walton, who is still recovering from a back injury. Check out 710 ESPN to hear the unique perspective that only a current player can give.

Walton Undergoes Back Procedure

Luke Walton underwent a facet rhizotomy – a procedure designed to shut off pain signals that nerves send to the brain through a needle injection into the back – on Thursday morning performed by Dr. Michael Port.

The procedure does not change the timing of Walton’s recovery, as the Lakers forward is expected to miss a minimum of six weeks. According to team sources, Walton is in a considerable amount of discomfort and will be away from the team for a few days while recovering.

CLICK HERE TO READ WALTON’S INITIAL REACTION TO THE INJURY

Luke Walton Injury Interview

Luke WaltonBefore the third quarter of L.A.’s win over Detroit on Tuesday, Lakers forward Luke Walton talked to beat reporters about his sore lower back, which is expected to keep him out of action for at least six weeks.

On how it happened:
Walton: It was similar to what happened in the preseason, and I came back and it was feeling great. Then I felt a little bit of stiffness in the back, and it got worse and worse every day. There was a little pinch sensation in that back area, which I guess is a pinched nerve, and they said to pretty much shut it down and get all the swelling out of there. Hopefully this time will be the end of it when I come back.

On if he’ll be back by the first of the year:
Walton: I want to be back as soon as possible. Last time they wanted me out longer, but as soon as the back started feeling good I was begging them to let me start playing again, and they did. Obviously that was a mistake, I guess I wasn’t ready yet. But it’s frustrating to have to sit here and watch all the games; I was feeling good out on the court and having fun, but once the back goes it makes it really hard to play at this level when you can’t really move, cut and play defense the way you would like to. I’m going to let them tell me when to play this time, because last time I think I rushed it a little too quickly.

On when he first hurt it:
Walton: If I had a schedule in front of me I could tell you … but it was probably about a week that it’s been pretty bad.

On if he can do rehab:
Walton: Right now we’ve shut it down to where I’m not doing anything, until I can take the anti-inflammatories, work with (L.A.’s training staff), get the swelling down and depending on how bad it is get an injection or something like that. And then once it’s feeling better, do a couple hours of rehab every day on getting everything else strong so that when I come back, hopefully it will be ready to handle what it takes to play an NBA season.

On how long before he can resume rehabilitation exercises:
Walton: It all depends on once the low back feels better, once the muscles aren’t grabbing me every time. I can’t bend over and tie my shoe right now, that’s how tight the muscles are in the back. So once that all starts feeling better, everything’s calmed down, then we’re going to hit the rehab extremely hard.

Luke Walton Injury Update

58901338Lakers forward Luke Walton, who did not play in last night’s game against the Rockets, was today was diagnosed with a pinched nerve and is expected to miss a minimum of six weeks.

Here’s the release from the Lakers PR staff:
Lakers forward Luke Walton was examined today by back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins and has been diagnosed with a pinched nerve. Walton is expected to be out a minimum of six weeks.

Pregame Injury Update: Gasol, Bynum & Walton

D067369021.JPGLakers forward Pau Gasol and center Andrew Bynum will miss Thursday evening’s preseason game in Anaheim against Denver, though forward Luke Walton will dress and be a coaches’ decision to play.

Gasol, who strained his right hamstring earlier in training camp, will also miss Friday night’s game in San Diego and await re-evaluation early next week.

Jackson explained that his All-Star forward had some questions about how (the hamstring) felt after Wednesday’s practice, during which Gasol ran and went through some drills. The head coach said it might be more of a fatigue issue, but to “alleviate” Gasol’s response, the team felt it was best to keep him out of the final two preseason games as there was nothing to gain by playing him.

“I’m not worried,” said Phil Jackson. “Whether he makes it (for the season opener on Tuesday) or not I’m not worried.”

Bynum, who strained his rotator cuff and suffered a contusion of the left knee this week, will not play Thursday evening but will be re-evaluated on Friday morning. He’s listed as day-to-day.

Walton (back), meanwhile, practiced for the first time in over a week on Wednesday and will dress against the Nuggets, though his participation will be up to Phil Jackson.