NBA

World Peace off crutches, 'excited' for return

04/05 11:37 AM

Less than a week after undergoing surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, Metta World Peace is already off crutches and "very excited" about his return to the Los Angeles Lakers' lineup.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Less than a week after undergoing surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, Metta World Peace is already off crutches and "very excited" about his return to the Los Angeles Lakers' lineup.

"It's going really well," World Peace said of his rehabilitation Wednesday. "I was on the crutches for a couple days, but it just gets better. Like, every half of day, it improves. I'm very encouraged."

The Lakers originally said World Peace would be sidelined for a minimum of six weeks with the injury, but the 14-year veteran acted coy when asked about a specific time frame.

"Just wait and see," World Peace said. "Just wait and see."

If World Peace is out for the suggested six weeks, the Lakers would have to make the second round of the playoffs in order for him to play with them again this season.

"When they said six weeks, I was like, 'Oh my goodness,' but knowing me, I would play with one leg if I had to," World Peace said.

World Peace suffered the injury in the first half of the Lakers' 109-103 road loss to the Golden State Warriors on March 25. He was posting up the Warriors' Harrison Barnes in the second quarter when it happened.

"My foot kind of went out and knee kind of went in and I fell back," World Peace said. "I fell back when I was trying to get post-up position.

"At first I didn't know what it was. Just all of the sudden, you can't walk. You can't run. I was like, 'Something's wrong here.'"

World Peace said the surgery went as well as could be expected, and the 33-year-old was pleased with how structurally sound his knees looked, other than the meniscus tear, after playing nearly a decade and a half in the league.

"They saw that my knee, inside, my knee was looking great," World Peace said. "It's doing really good for a person who has played 14 years in the NBA. So that was encouraging. I was excited. I was excited after the surgery.

"Virtually no wear and tear and things like that, it was like amazing. So I was excited."

The Lakers have gone 3-1 since World Peace went out against Golden State.

"The ball's moving," World Peace said. "(Tuesday against Dallas) was a really big win. (They're playing) really well."

World Peace could very well have played his last game as a Laker if he doesn't return for a possible playoff run. World Peace, who will turn 34 in November, has a player option for $7.7 million next year in what would be his 15th season. The Lakers still have the amnesty provision available to them should World Peace opt into the contract, a stipulation from the latest NBA collective bargaining agreement that allows a team to waive a player signed prior to the start of the 2011-12 season and take his salary off their cap. World Peace could also explore free agency.

World Peace's agent, Marc Cornstein, told ESPNLosAngeles.com last week that he has not spoken with Lakers management about whether the team will exercise the amnesty clause on his client.

"That's been tabled for a little while," Cornstein said. "There will be time to go through that after the season."

World Peace recently told NBA.com he was mulling declining his player option for next season in hopes of signing a new, multiyear contract.

"That's premature," Cornstein said. "Our biggest concern now is how he recovers from his injury, not where he'll be in the future. ... We'll go through the process (of looking at all options available) after the season."

World Peace did not want to discuss the subject on Wednesday.

"I wasn't really supposed to actually talk about that," World Peace said. "It's just not appropriate right now with the season to talk about my own future, because right now it's more appropriate to talk about what we're going to do moving forward as a team and winning and stuff. All the right things."


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