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Matt Barnes taking a determined attitude regarding his injury

January 13, 2011 |  5:09 pm

Lakers forward Matt Barnes entered his first surgery free of anxiety and filled with desire to finish the operation as soon as possible. He centered his talk on his expected eight-week rehabilitation surrounding the lateral meniscus on his right knee with little reflection and more with an eye on the future. And he's making up for his physical limitation by devoting more time to studying the triangle offense.

Barnes displayed the same determined characteristics after practice Thursday that's made him so valuable to the Lakers, averaging 7.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 20.8 minutes off the bench through aggressive and efficient play. So it's no doubt the Lakers will miss his presence after he landed off-balance while pursuing a rebound in the Lakers' 101-97 victory last week against New Orleans, a game Barnes argued proved the team "turned a corner" during their current six-game winning streak entering Friday's game against the New Jersey Nets. But the same reason the Lakers miss him is the same reason why rehabilitation should prove successful. He's simply making the best of circumstances.

"Mentally I'm kind of frustrated from the first surgery in my career to happen in the most important season in my career," said Barnes, who said the surgery performed by Lakers physician Steve Lombardo at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles lasted three hours and entailed no setbacks. "It's a little frustrating. It is what it is. I have to work through this and do my part to come back healthy and be able to help this team down the stretch."

Barnes has been doing that thus far. His Twitter account shows he's been fully engaged with watching the Lakers' road games on television and home games on the sideline. He devoted his first day of rehab Thursday to testing out his flexibility. He found out there's minimal swelling in his right knee and hopes to accelerate his recovery process so long as it doesn't risk further injury. And he's compiled tape of Phil Jackson's Chicago Bulls teams and of the current Lakers squad so he can better learn the guard position so he returns with a more versatile skill set.

The Lakers' expectation that Barnes will miss at least 28 games may sound like a long time. But Barnes suggests the time will be well spent.

Said Barnes: "My job now is to do my part with the rehab and being prepared mentally."

--Mark Medina

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