- Dave McMenamin, ESPN Staff Writer
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The team listed his recovery time at a minimum of six weeks, a date well past the regular-season finale for a team that has no guarantee of making the playoffs. And there was no telling if he would be back after the offseason.
Yet just 12 days after surgery, World Peace was back in the lineup Tuesday, checking in to the game against the New Orleans Hornets to a partial standing ovation from the fans and without a brace on his left knee.
He had other ideas about his recovery time.
"I went online and was like, 'Yo, what was the fastest somebody ever recovered from a meniscus tear?' " World Peace recalled. "I was thinking it was going to say something like four weeks and somehow I read a week and I was like, 'Oh, then I'm the week kind of guy.'"
It helped that the surgery was not too invasive. World Peace said a "little flap" of meniscus was removed and "they're not stitching nothing together, they're just scoping."
To make his hope of being the one-week recovery guy, World Peace started his rehabilitation immediately. Even before the team was ready for him to begin it.
"I just started to do rehab once I got home," World Peace said. "Like, right away. No wasting time. And they were on the road so I had to call [Lakers trainer] Gary [Vitti] and [Lakers therapist] Judy [Seto] like, 'What do I have to do?' They were like, 'Wait till [we] get back.' I was like, 'No, I'm not waiting. Tell me what I got to do now so I can be ready to play.' And they just continued to tell me what I had to do and I just continued to try to rehab."
With Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni going back to a seven-man rotation Sunday in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers and Kobe Bryant's playing time continually flirting with the 48-minute mark, World Peace saw a way he could help even if he wasn't 100 percent yet.
"It was like even if I could come in and give five minutes to somebody," World Peace said. "Five minutes, 10 minutes, whatever; [just] give Kobe a breather. I can even just do that. That will be cool too."
In typical World Peace style, he viewed the Lakers' predicament of possibly needing to win out just to get in the playoffs as a welcome one.
"We're in a tough spot. It's a good spot, [but] a tough spot though," World Peace said. "Nobody here is trying to go home early, I'll tell you that. Everybody here are winners."
He certainly didn't let the layoff effect his confidence.
"I still have this huge ego," World Peace said. "We still want to win. I still feel we're the best. Even though we're at the bottom, I still feel like we are the best. Hey, let's go. Let's get it. That's the thing about champions. There can only be one champion. There can only be one so we're not just giving it to anybody."
Just like Bryant isn't giving too much credit to World Peace just yet.
"He's probably a little bit impressed, but you know Kobe. He's played through gunshot wounds," World Peace said laughing. "He's played through everything."