First off, howís the knee?
It feels great. Iím taking it day-by-day, trying to get better. I had an injury a few years ago but it wasnít [anything] like this. This is just something that I have to deal with, and just take it one day at a time.

Being that youíre still young Iím guessing that youíll be able to bounce back pretty quickly. Are there going to be any adjustments that you feel like youíre going to have to make when you come back?
Well, I feel like I have to come back better. I know the first practice is going to be hard, but Iím going to try and come back a whole lot stronger. Iím just going to take my time and go from there.

I hate to bring it up but you know I have to. Game 7, what was it like having to sit out?
ManÖit had to be one of the worst experiences of my life. The whole rivalry with the Boston Celtics [and LA Lakers], and you have to watch from the sidelines? You know guys donít get to be in that position much let alone get to a Game 7 in the NBA Finals. Itís one of the most painful experiences I ever had.

Well letís look on the bright side. You did a good job of scaling back on your technicals throughout the playoffs, which kept you in the game and showed your discipline. When you did that did it affect your game in any way?
Nah, I mean itís the way I play man. I play with a streak, a mean streak, nasty. Itís what I try to bring to the court, the nastiness, and thatís the way I play every day.

So coming back from an injury, are you looking to enter the new season with a chip on your shoulder?
For sure, I mean there is no choice. I have to play [and get] my spot back, and itís my contract year. So I have to come back better.

So as far as extra motivation goes thereís been a lot of talk about Miami. Is that providing any extra motivation?
We look forward to the challenge. They havenít proven anything yet, so weíre looking forward to it, we like those matchups. Also, going into the playoffs [at the end of the season] we really didnít show up like we were supposed to and I know the media and the critics gave us problems, but we had a veteran team that turned it up for the playoffs.

Yeah the Big Three in Miami is different than how your Big Three came about. Yours were already vets and Miami is different because all three of them arenít quite vets yet. Theyíre all hitting their peak at the same time.
I mean I feel like we got better too. We got Rondo, heís getting better all the time. Myself who will get better, Big Babyís whose getting better. Also, the additions of Shaq and Jermaine OíNeal, Marquis [Daniels] is back, our draft pick was a good pick, [Avery] Bradley, and we brought Nate [Robinson] back.

You guys made some solid off season pick-ups, but losing Tony Allen and Sheed was huge. Is your second unit better this year?
You know you canít say anything until you see it. It can look good on paper, but you have to be able to put it together on the court. So itís hard to say until you get out there.

You guys also lost Tom Thibodeau, but in his place you brought in Lawrence Frank. Have you talked to him?
I actually was the first person on the team to meet Lawrence Frank. Frankís a great guy. Heís a great coach, works well with players and a key pick-up after losing coach Thibodeau, whose place in Chicago was a long time coming. But Lawrence Frank has been around the NBA and I think heíll be able to help us.

So looking at the make-up of this team, it looks like the Big Three are on the down slope of their careers, which makes you and Rondo the future. Have the Big Three helped transition you guys into leadership roles?
Yeah they have with a lot of things, but to be honest the Big Three feel like theyíre young again and they want to keep playing. I hear them talking, and they say they canít wait. I think this season especially is going to be an interesting season to watch the Celtics. A lot of guys are playing with a chip on their shoulders, trust me. Kevin Garnett, people say heís getting old, and heís going to come back better than ever. Ray [Allen] is going to be great, and come back in great shape, shooting the ball always, and Paul [Pierce] Iím expecting him to power our team and everybodyís going to come back great.

I think a lot of people are expecting a lot from you, too.
Yeah they are and Iím going to make sure when I come back Iím right. And Iím looking to get 100 percent and jump right into the mix.

Do you think in the long run this injury might make you a better player?
I just think this knee injury will make me a better player. Itíll get me to work harder, and you know Iíve had a lot of time to sit back. Sometimes you lose, not the love for the game, but you relax and quite working. I think this injury has taught me not to take things for granted. So it really gets me thinking and I really want to bounce back from this. Itís all about the love of the game. You run around and take your body for granted, you donít think you can get hurt and you donít think it can happen to you, and then it happens. I think itís going to help me more mentally, and when I come back Iím going to be mentally stronger.

You sound like a seasoned veteran man! Predictions for next year, perhaps an All-Star berth?
[laughs] Nah, my goal is to win a ring.

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Offseason Chat: Kendrick Perkins

Sep 23 2010 6:07PM

By By Jeff Min #12

The last time the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers met in The Finals for a Game 7 was nearly a quarter-century ago; Bruce Springsteen was entering the apex of his career, Eddie Murphyís Beverly Hills Cop was dominating the box-office and some cyber-nerd by the name of Bill Gates was tinkering with a grassroots project called Microsoft Windows, so to say that a little history has passed since then is a bit of an understatement. The game itself was captivating to watch and to attend it had to be beyond memorable, but to play in it? To participate in history and battle it out with the legacies of two storied franchises riding on your back? Well, just peep Kobeís expression on the cover of the July/August issue of HOOP and you get the picture. Melville couldnít have scripted a better summer drama, and unfortunately for Kendrick Perkins, he missed out on every minute.

The Big Nasty, as we all know, was saddled with a bum knee and had to watch painfully from the sidelines. Meanwhile the Lakers pulled down a staggering 23 offensive rebounds en route to their 16th championship, which makes it hard not to wonder what the outcome would have been if he was in the lineup. Thatís the past though and this is the present, and with a new season on the horizon KP and the rest of the Celts are looking for redemption. HOOP recently caught up with Kendrick to discuss not only his rehab but what it was like to sit out Game 7, his take on the new look Celtics and how his injury could be a blessing in disguise.