Archive for the 'Matt Barnes' Category

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Blake Out with Chicken Pox

Lakers backup point guard Steve Blake is out indefinitely after being diagnosed with the chicken pox on Tuesday morning.

The team learned of Blake’s condition after the team’s shootaround in preparation for Tuesday’s game against San Antonio. He’ll very likely miss Wednesday’s game at Sacramento as well in advance of the playoffs, which start either Saturday or Sunday. Blake will be monitored throughout the week.

Meanwhile, Matt Barnes is having soreness in the knee that kept him out of 28 games, and is listed as “questionable” heading into the Spurs game.

Barnes Back in Action

In L.A.’s Sunday blowout of the Spurs, Matt Barnes played his first minutes since Jan. 7 against New Orleans, 25 games sacrificed to his recovery from torn meniscus in his right knee.

Barnes was on the court for nearly 14 minutes, hitting his first field goal from three-point range, then missing all but one of the next five shots he took. He moved well throughout, was as active on the glass (six boards) in limited time as he was prior to being injured and showed some of his well-known grit while committing three personal fouls.

“I’ll need to get back fully into rhythm,” Barnes said prior to the team’s Monday practice in Atlanta. “I don’t think wind will be an issue because I’m sure my minutes will be monitored, so it’s really just about getting a rhythm and trying not to do too much.

“I was 1-for-2 from the three-point line and the second one rattled out. I think I just have to focus on my layups — I missed a couple last night. But my shot feels fine, and it will be there as I get more and more in shape.”

Being out with an injury is one of the tougher mental barriers to hurdle for NBA players, but Barnes credits his mentality throughout in part to his coach.

“(Phil Jackson is) great with communication,” said Barnes. “Someone on his level, there can be a wall up to new guys or younger guys, but Phil’s been very open with me. We always talk, and it’s been a great relationship so far.”

Sitting on the sidelines and observing helped Barnes — who maintained full confidence in his new team and even shared his thoughts publicly through his Twitter account* — understand what Jackson has had in mind.
*From @Matt_Barnes22 after L.A.’s loss at the buzzer to San Antonio on Feb. 3: “Remember its a marathon not a sprint. No need for panic. When we are completely healthy & focused. No team can beat us in a seven game series.”

“That’s what makes Phil great, his on and off the court preparation for our team,” Barnes explained. “Being in L.A., we’re expected to go 82-0, and when we hit lulls (a lot of people) thinks the season is over and that we’re going to fail, but Phil knows how to keep our minds in it and keeps us focused on what’s important.”

Barnes (25 games) and Andrew Bynum (24) have been the only two Lakers to miss any amount of significant time this season, but since Bynum returned to the starting line up and Barnes has been available off the bench, L.A. is 6-1 and counting heading into Tuesday evening’s contest at Atlanta.

Fisher Probable for Spurs, Barnes Day-to-Day

The Lakers announced on Saturday morning that Derek Fisher, who sprained his left elbow in the third quarter of L.A.’s Friday night win over Charlotte, will be listed as “probable” for Sunday’s game at San Antonio.

The league’s leader in consecutive games played at 476 is expected to start.

Meanwhile, Matt Barnes, who irritated his right knee in pregame warm ups on Friday, practiced with the team on Saturday and received treatment from the team’s training staff. Barnes was hoping to play for the first time since his right knee surgery on Jan. 11, but the team opted against it after the pregame irritation. He’s listed as “day-to-day,” leaving his availability for the Spurs in question.

Barnes to Play Tonight

Phil Jackson said @Matt_Barnes22 will be dressed and ready to play tonight vs. Charlotte.less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

Barnes a Game Time Decision for ‘Cats

If Matt Barnes had his way, he’d play in his first game since Jan. 7 when the Charlotte Bobcats come to town on Friday.

“I’m ready,” he said. “It feels good.”

Barnes did in fact go through a full practice on Thursday afternoon, including a run of five-on-five to conclude the session, and presumed that he’s about 90 percent back.

Phil Jackson, while explaining that the team would have to see how Barnes felt on Friday before making a decision, was positive about how the practice went for his backup wing.

“Right now, he’s looking pretty good,” said Jackson. “I’m looking forward to seeing him play Friday, but we’ll see.”

Barnes, who revealed that he has been lobbying his coach via text messages, has been chomping at the bit to return to action, eager to release what he said has been quite a build up of energy. Check back Friday night at about 6:15 p.m. (i.e. Jackson’s pregame presser) to see whether it will be tomorrow … or not.

2/24 Injury Update: Barnes Close to Returning

Lakers forward Matt Barnes participated in a full speed game of 3-on-3 at Thursday’s team workout, and afterward said he’s hoping to be back to game action as early as Sunday or Tuesday.

“Soon … a couple days,” he said of his timetable. “I got a good 30 minutes in today, and hopefully we get a little bit of time in Saturday before we leave, and I should be ready.”

Phil Jackson wasn’t willing to go quite so far.

“I’m watching Matt and I’ll talk to him tomorrow about it,” said Jackson. “We’re still saying, ‘Let’s be patient,’ we’re not in dire need. We haven’t had a lot of practice time to go on his performance level. He needs to have a practice with the team and full fledged activity.”

Barnes hopes that Saturday will be that full practice day, though the Lakers will be coming off Friday night’s game against the Clippers and prepping to leave for a Sunday game at Oklahoma City, which sometimes results in limited practice sessions. As such, we should be surprised if the team holds Barnes out for another few days, even if he’s desperate to get on the court.

“I think I need to be out there more than they need me out there,” Barnes acknowledged. “It’s been a while, man, and we started off the last home stretch well and I just want to get back in and do anything I can to help the team win.”

Barnes originally suffered a tear of the lateral meniscus of his right knee in the first half of L.A.’s Jan. 7 victory over New Orleans. He underwent surgery to repair the torn meniscus on Jan. 13, after which the team provided an eight-week estimation for recovery.

Barnes, however, was determined from the start to beat that time, and is currently at only six weeks.

“We appreciate his intensity and wanting to come back,” said Jackson. “Without a doubt, he wants to be back and he wants to help us.”

Ratliff Practices, Barnes Shoots on Sunday

UCLA Health SystemThe Lakers are getting a bit healthier at the onset of a week containing only two games, as Theo Ratliff and Matt Barnes made respective progress with their injured knees on Sunday.

Ratliff, who hasn’t played since early November due to arthroscopic knee surgery, participated fully in practice.

Barnes, who also had minor knee surgery, had a chance to shoot the ball for the first time since going under the knife, though he’s still a few weeks away from playing.

Phil Jackson, meanwhile, said he’s pleased to have only Tuesday’s contest vs. Utah and Friday’s against Sacramento on the weekly docket as it allows the coaching staff to hammer home some different elements in practice.

Matt Barnes: Jan. 13 Injury Update

UCLA Health SystemMatt Barnes had successful surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee under the care of Lakers team physician Dr. Steve Lombardo on Tuesday morning, and addressed reporters after Thursday’s practice for the first time.

“It was a simple procedure, in and out, I was back home in three hours,” said Barnes. “I just want to get back.”

Barnes, walking under his own power without the help of crutches, was of course disappointed to get hurt and have surgery for the first time in his career, but felt a bit better watching the team rack up wins while he watched from home.

“The team’s been playing great while I’ve been down, I’ve been watching everything like a hawk,” he said. “I’m going to take this time to learn the offense a little bit better, watch some game film and just get my body back into it.”

Barnes is expected to be out for approximately eight weeks, typical for such a surgery, but an earlier return is among his goals.

“(Eight weeks) is what they say, that’s what the plan is, but you know me, I’m going to work as hard as I possibly can to be back sooner and make sure I’m healthy at the same time also,” said Barnes. “My job is to do my part with the rehab and be prepared mentally as well.”

In fact, Barnes set a goal to learn the guard positions of the triangle offense. He’s obviously been focusing on the forward spots since coming to Los Angeles as that’s where he’s played, but thinks a better understanding of all the positions can only help him upon his return.

Barnes Suffers Tear of Lateral Meniscus

UCLA Health SystemLakers reserve forward Matt Barnes suffered a tear of the lateral meniscus of his right knee in the first half of Friday evening’s game against New Orleans and will need surgery.

His knee was classified as a sprain during the game before diagnostic tests were taken, and the MRI exam on Saturday morning confirmed the tear.

The Lakers will avoid giving a time table on the injury until after the surgery, likely to be early next week, though an exact date is currently being determined.

In 37 games for the Lakers, Barnes averaged 7.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 0.70 steals while along with Ron Artest being charged with defending the opposing team’s best wing players. While Barnes is out, Artest’s minutes are expected to go up, while Luke Walton and rookie Devin Ebanks could also see increased roles.

Matt Barnes: Just Tupac

If you approach a headphone-wearing Matt Barnes in the locker room before Lakers games, you might not be able to guess exactly what song he’s listening to … but there is a quick way to narrow it down, because it’s definitely a track by Tupac Shakur.

“I’ve got about 400 Tupac songs on my iPod,” revealed Barnes. “And I just rotate.”

While chatting with Barnes about the video scouting reports he studies to prep for literally any player that he might guard throughout a game — from point guards to power forwards — I noticed one of my personal favorite songs from Tupac’s “All Eyez on Me” album (“Heartz of Men”) blaring out of his headphones. I told Barnes that happened to be my first hip hop album, and that in fact, I played the CD so often on my Discman it became so scratched that I had to purchase many of the songs on iTunes.

Barnes, who was listening to Tupac growing up in Sacramento in the 1990′s while I was doing the same in Minneapolis, understood exactly what was so appealing.

“Tupac paints a picture for you,” he said. “He really makes you understand what’s going on in his life … I always keep it on ‘Pac.”

His favorite album is also “All Eyez On Me,” though he’s also partial to “Makaveli – The 7 Day Theory.”

In 2pac conclusion, Barnes also gave us his five favorite tracks right now, a list that changes periodically:

1) “Letter 2 My Unborn”
2) “Secretzs of War”
3) “Against All Odds”
4) “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted”
5) “Who Do You Believe In?”