Matt Barnes had knee drained

Updated: April 16, 2011, 5:23 PM ET
By Dave McMenamin | ESPNLosAngeles.com

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- While the Los Angeles Lakers struggled with a five-game losing streak late in the season, forward Matt Barnes had his own problems.

He couldn't bend his right knee.

Barnes sat out the final two games of the season when irritation in the knee flared up following the Oklahoma City game on April 10. He missed 26 games following Jan. 11 surgery to repair a tear in the lateral meniscus in the knee and had difficulty finding his rhythm since returning to the lineup March 6.

The eight-year veteran went in for an MRI on Wednesday while the team was in Sacramento. The scan did not reveal any new injury, but he went in to get 40 cc's of fluid drained from the knee the next day, Barnes told reporters Saturday.

"They drained the fluid out of it so I can move now," Barnes said. "So, I'm excited ... With the swelling and the fluid being gone, I can bend my knee now. Before, I couldn't even bend my knee."

Barnes, who averaged 6.7 points and 4.3 rebounds during the regular season, was limited in practice Saturday, participating in some early drills before watching the rest from the sidelines.

He said he had already iced his knee three times by the time the team's afternoon practice was finished.

"I'm just doing everything possible," Barnes said. "I've even over-iced. I'm just staying off my feet. [After practice] I'm headed to acupuncture and then I'll go home and ice more and just relax until [Sunday]."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson listed Barnes' status for Sunday's Game 1 against the New Orleans Hornets as "probable" on Friday. When asked about Barnes on Saturday, Jackson said Barnes was "questionable."

The discrepancy was then pointed out to him by a member of the media.

"He's probably questionable," Jackson said with a smile.

Barnes insisted he was prepared to play, despite not going through a full practice or playing in a game for almost a week.

"I'm playing tomorrow," Barnes said. "As long as [Jackson] needs me, I'll be ready."

Lakers center Andrew Bynum (right knee bone bruise) did not experience any complications Saturday and will play in Game 1. Steve Blake (chicken pox) remained away from the team while recovering from his illness and will not play in the series opener.

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Dave McMenamin

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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