Lakers forward Matt Barnes could be back on the bench early next month. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
Lakers forward Matt Barnes is recovering well after right knee surgery and will play soon, but center Theo Ratliff might miss the rest of the season because of knee problems.
Barnes might be able to play in early March, the team said.
But the news isn't so good for Ratliff, who has been sidelined since having cartilage removed from his left knee Nov. 17.
Ratliff recently got another opinion on his knee, putting him so far behind schedule that Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said the 6-11 center has to be monitored just to see "if he's going to play at all" the rest of this season.
Originally, Ratliff was expected to be out four to six weeks.
However, Jackson said Wednesday that Ratliff recently consulted with Dr. James Andrews, an orthopedic surgeon in Alabama known for specializing in treating knees, elbows and shoulder injuries.
Jackson said Ratliff had to "start over in rehab basically" so he could do "some other stuff that perhaps brings him into position so he can play."
"[Ratliff] had one minor setback that became an irritant," Jackson said. "His knee is now in a position that we have to monitor it very closely if he's going to play at all" this season.
As for Barnes, the hope is that he can practice some with the team Monday, when it reconvenes after the All-Star break.
"He's on the court shooting and working out," Jackson said.
In 37 games this season, Barnes averaged 7.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 20.8 minutes.
Jackson talked about what they have missed with Barnes out.
"Just his quickness and speed off that wing," Jackson said. "[He has] the ability to move without the basketball and get things happening."