Matt Barnes working out with mixed success
When he made a defensive stop, Matt Barnes carried a swagger. When he drained a jumper, he exuded confidence. When Barnes talked trash, he showcased his fiery demeanor.
Those instances during a recent pickup game at Loyola Marymount University illustrated Barnes' positive progression this off-season in fully rehabbing his surgically repaired right knee, so much that he considers it 90% to 95% healthy. But that remaining 5% showed some limitations. Barnes misfired on plenty of shots and he often appeared tentative driving into the lane.
"I'm very happy with where I was," said Barnes, who said he spent most of his off-season working on his shooting, ball-handling and dropping his weight from 230 pounds to 213. "I'm trying to be more versatile. Coming out of the triangle offense, it's going back to playing basketball per se."
Later that day at an hourlong core-strengthening and flexibility session at Barre Physique Manhattan Beach, Barnes showcased various strengths and weaknesses. He struggled maintaining balance on a single arm plank. He ran out of breath performing a "flatback" exercise, which involved maintaining his core balance while sitting against a wall. He often indicated his fatigue level after exercising his feet and arms on a balance beam.
Don't be fazed by the video above, however. As someone who continually exercises his core, albeit to a lesser degree than Barnes, I personally understand the deceptiveness behind such apparently simple exercises. They prove more difficult because of the quick timing between drills and the emphasis it places on strictly maintaining balance. As for Barnes, his work with trainer Lisa Torres revealed his determination in successfully completing the exercises despite considering it "one of the toughest workouts I've had."
"I'm starting to feel everything around my surgically repaired knee strengthen," said Barnes, who added he often engages in sand runs and dumbbell exercises. "I'm still repairing my core. When I went down, I shut everything off and couldn't do anything. ... I'm rebuilding everything I had and more."
-- Mark Medina
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