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ESPYS: Matt Barnes hopes to play five-on-five within two weeks

Beyond the frustration in remaining sidelined for nearly two months and feeling limited afterward,  another ramification of Matt Barnes' lateral meniscus tear in his right knee entailed staying away from the golf course

It's one of his favorite hobbies and something that centers around his foundation devoted to cancer treatment. But with participating in the ESPYS golf tournament Tuesday, it also served as a legitimate benchmark regarding the progress surrounding his surgically repaired right knee. He didn't make a hole in one like he had jokingly promised with Sparks center Lisa Leslie, settling for chipping a ball about six feet from the cup. But 18 holes of golf also revealed he no longer felt the normal pain and swelling around his right knee.

"I had a few awkward swings and no pain in my knee, which was great," Barnes said. "It’s good to be able to get back out there and do everything I used to do."

Except for one thing. Barnes expects that he's two weeks away from playing five-on-five scrimmages, something he plans to do in pickup games at UCLA and Loyola Marymount once he's healthy enough. For now, Barnes' exercise has entailed running, lifting weights and riding a stationary bike.

While many NBA players are at least leaving the possibility open of playing overseas and lamenting the possibility of a lost season, Barnes called the current lockout a "blessing in disguise" because he was able to take two months off instead of his usual routine of two weeks before rehabbing his knee.  

"Overseas is not something I’m looking at right now," said Barnes, who exercised his $1.91-million option to play with the Lakers next season. "I’m one of the few players who doesn’t mind the lockout at this point. It’s given me time for my knee to heal. I’m just going to make sure my knee is 100% and be ready for next season." 

It also gave Barnes time to check out Kobe Bryant's basketball camp last week where Barnes witnessed Bryant perform a 360-degree dunk. Said Barnes: "Kobe looked great in camp. 360s and dunking, he was great." 

Related Posts

Matt Barnes officially exercises option to stay with the Lakers

Lakers say Matt Barnes' MRI reveals "continued improvement" in surgically repaired right knee

--Mark Medina

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