The Los Angeles Lakers have five games remaining in the regular season, and find themselves once again on the outside of the playoffs. On Sunday, the Lakers fell to the Clippers, while the Utah Jazz were able to take advantage and win in Oakland, taking back the eighth seed in the West as a result.
The Lakers struggled to defend the perimeter on Sunday, as they have too often this season. Despite the drastic inconsistency with Metta World Peace’s offensive contribution, he is an asset on perimeter defense. This is where MWP has been missed most while he is sidelined with his torn meniscus that he recently had surgerically repaired.
Initial reports had Metta being out of the lineup for a minimum of six weeks, which would cause him to miss the remainder of the season and most likely the entire first round of the postseason (if the Lakers made it). However, his recovery schedule appears to be changing. According to Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News:
The Lakers plan to have World Peace run [Sunday] at 90 percent of his body weight on an elliptical machine before evaluating whether he can run with full body weight on Tuesday. It’s likely he’ll then have to go through at least a practice before returning.
Still, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni described World Peace’s progression as “way ahead of schedule.” The Lakers estimated he’d sit out at least six weeks. But World Peace spent the past three days running and the past two participating in shooting exercises.
Metta World Peace joked with a reporter after Sunday’s game that he could have played in the game. Sounds like Metta. He then reported on his recovery process:
“I’m good,” said World Peace, who’s missed the last six games. “I’m not a [wimp].”
“I was walking a day after [surgery]. I only used the crutches because I was lazy,” World Peace said. “I was ready to go.”
MWP has no swelling around his knee, which has benefited his rehabilitation and recovery tremendously. His determination doesn’t hurt the process of getting back to the court at all. The fact that he is dramatically increasing his rehab is a great sign.
While the possibility of still missing the remainder of the season still lingers, it appears that Metta could be back in the rotation sooner than expected assuming there is not setbacks. With five games left to maneuver into the postseason, the Lakers could use all the help they can get.