LaFrentz Excited for Season to Begin
Besides the four rookies in the Celtics locker room, there is probably no one more excited to be at training camp at the University of Vermont other then center Raef LaFrentz. After missing the majority of last season due to a right knee injury, LaFrentz is ready to hit the hardwood and prove that he is healthy and ready for the 2004-05 season.
Acquired by the C's last year from the Dallas Mavericks along with Chris Mills, Jiri Welsch and a 2004 first round draft choice in exchange for Tony Delk and Antoine Walker, LaFrentz played only 17 games before his injury forced him to sit out the remainder of the season. So naturally, Media Day was the perfect opportunity to ask LaFrentz the one question that every Celtics fan wants to know - how his knee is feeling.
"It's great to be back on the court," LaFrentz answered to everyone who asked, which was most of the reporters who gathered at The Sports Authority Training Center. "It didn't feel awesome, but it felt good enough to be playing [pick up games last month]. Recovery [between workouts] didn't take that long. As I keep playing, I'll get my basketball legs under me and I'll continue to get stronger and I don't see any problems."
LaFrentz also said that he intends to have a 100 percent workload right now and will do everything that the rest of the team is doing, but will also listen to his body as well. "If it gets to the point where I'm getting a bit behind and it's really killing me, which I don't foresee happening, I might take a day off," he admitted.
Fans should be excited about LaFrentz's potential to contribute to the team this season. Executive Director of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge, Rivers and team captain (and former college teammate) Paul Pierce have all been impressed with what they have seen of him so far during summer workouts and early in camp. Pierce went as far as to say that LaFrentz looks as good as he did when the two were teammates back at Kansas. Known as a good shooter, rebounder and shot-blocker, LaFrentz could provide a good 1-2 presence along with resigned free agent Mark Blount.
So as the Celtics huddle up in Burlington, V.T. to prepare for the season, fans should rest assured that LaFrentz (and he right knee) is healthy and ready go. In fact, after the first practice session, he was probably one of the only players in the NBA who actually enjoyed it.
"That was great," he said. And you know he was just waiting for the next opportunity to get out on the court with his teammates and do it again.