Metta World Peace could play Tuesday, much earlier than expected
Coach Mike D’Antoni says Metta World Peace has an 80% to 90% chance of playing Tuesday night when the Lakers host the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center.
World Peace tore cartilage (meniscus) in his left knee March 25 against the Golden State Warriors. He had surgery March 28 with an initial recovery timeline of at least six weeks.
He participated in a three-on-three scrimmage Monday. As long as he doesn’t suffer any setbacks Tuesday, World Peace is expected to be back into the lineup less than two weeks after knee surgery.
The Lakers forward said after practice that he felt he was ready to play three games ago but that he was willing to defer to the Lakers’ team of doctors, trainers and decision makers.
[Updated, 1:20 p.m. PDT, April 8: “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.”
The doctors “were amazed at how the swelling didn’t even exist. That’s off of meniscus surgery,” he said. “You can play, but it’s the swelling that keeps you from playing. I didn’t have [any swelling] and that’s why I wanted to play right away.”]
The Lakers are coming off a crucial loss to the Clippers, falling to ninth place in the Western Conference, behind the Utah Jazz. If the Jazz don’t lose another game, the Lakers won’t catch them in the standings -- even if they win all five of their remaining games.
D’Antoni has played a short rotation of seven players with Steve Nash (hamstring and hip soreness) and World Peace sidelined.
World Peace would presumably return to the starting lineup, pushing Jodie Meeks back to the bench and sliding Kobe Bryant to his more-natural shooting guard position.
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