Posts Tagged ‘Gary Vitti’

Report: Bryant Still ‘A Few Weeks Away’ From Full-Weight Running, Court Work


From staff reports

Lakers athletic trainer Gary Vitti has been at his job  since the 1984-85 season, making him maybe the best L.A. source at judging how an injured player is progressing in his rehabilitation. Vitti has been keeping a careful eye on Kobe Bryant as the All-Star shooting guard rehabs following surgery to repair a torn left Achilles tendon he suffered on April 12 vs. Golden State.

Bryant has been active on various forms of social media since the injury, updating fans on his Facebook, Twitter and Vine accounts. In August, he went as far as to say he had ‘shattered’ the recovery timetable.

While Bryant is progressing well, Vitti is tempering the expectations of both Bryant and his legion of fans as training camp nears.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Los Angeles Daily NewsMark Medina, Vitti said the Lakers are continuing a conservative approach in getting Bryant up to speed. The longtime trainer also said that Bryant is already running on a treadmill, though with a contraption that helps support him, and he will be up to running with his full body weight soon:

Kobe Bryant continued rehabbing on his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon, the latest involving running at 75 percent of his body weight on a treadmill. Lakers athletic trainer Gary Vitti expects Bryant remains a “few weeks away” before advancing to full-weight bearing running, though he added “there’s no projected date” on whether Bryant could play in the Lakers’ season opener Oct. 29 against the Clippers.

It all fits the Lakers’ conservative approach in ensuring Bryant doesn’t return from an injury he suffered April 12 before it fully heals.

“He’s doing well and has had no setbacks,” Vitti said Thursday at his trainer’s office at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo in a wide-ranging interview with this newspaper. “He’ll be ready when he’s ready. Nobody has a crystal ball on this thing.”

Bryant must first complete full-weight bearing running drills before advancing to on-court basketball activities. Vitti offered no timetable on how long it would take for Bryant to complete each stage, let alone whether he will appear in the Lakers’ season opener Oct. 29 against the Clippers.

It’s unlikely that Bryant will be available for the start of the Lakers’ training camp on Sept. 28, but his availability for the end of the team’s preseason schedule may still be up for grabs. No matter how Bryant progresses, the Lakers’ training staff has been impressed with his work thus far:

The Lakers training staff, led by Vitti, physical therapist Judy Seto and strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco, has concentrated on ensuring Bryant’s tendon heals while also building strength in his legs, knee, back and core.

“He doesn’t have injuries in the rest of his body,” Vitti said of Bryant. “When a guy has been out for a long time, that neuromuscular system shuts down and the nerves don’t fire the muscles in the right pattern in the right way. We have to get this whole thing working again. Think of him as a Ferrari. He’s a machine. If those pistons aren’t firing in the right position and in the right pattern, the timing is off. Other structures can be taking loads that aren’t built for that. The rehab is not directly solely to the Achilles tendon.”

“He’s had a good surgery, good rehab and he’s motivated about it. He’s smart,” Vitti said of Bryant. “You can’t get ahead of the game on this thing, but you can get behind. He never got behind.”

Lakers Say No Rush On Nash, Team’s Depth Will Be Tested In His Absence

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — A small fracture to his left leg will force us to admire more of Steve Nash‘s colorful wardrobe than is necessary. But with the Los Angeles Lakers announcing that there will be no rush on Nash’s return (which makes their timetable of him missing for a week seem a bit sketchy), we’ll spend the next few games familiarizing ourselves with Steve Blake and Darius Morris.

With those two backups playing the bulk of the minutes at point guard, the Lakers’ already questionable depth will be tested ever more. For a team that doesn’t need any more hurdles to clear to start the season, this might be the one that gives us the best gauge of their championship timber.

Surviving the preseason with both Dwight Howard (recovering from back surgery) and Kobe Bryant (nursing a sore foot) at less than full strength is one thing. But an extended period without Nash in the lineup at all … that’s the one injury hiccup the Lakers weren’t exactly prepared for.

Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times told us yesterday on The Beat on NBA TV that Nash could very well be out for a month. A MONTH!

“You obviously hope he’s back as soon as possible,” Lakers coach Mike Brown told reporters Sunday before the Lakers trounced the Detroit Pistons Sunday. “But the one thing you don’t want to do, you don’t want to compromise his long-term health for him coming back quicker than he should. So, (trainer) Gary Vitti and the staff are on top of it. We’ll just wait and play it out from there.”

We knew it would take them a while to get it together. But spending the next four weeks without Nash in the mix as they try and perfect their Princeton offense (and doing so seemingly against the wishes of anyone that knows anything about the Lakers’ personnel) is a challenge they didn’t need.


The Season Of … Uncertainty?

We’ve been watching that countdown to tipoff clock on the front of for days, weeks even, just staring at the numbers ticking away.

With the ground beneath our feet seemingly changing by the second in the final days leading up to Tuesday night’s start of the regular season, the one constant we thought we could be sure of is the teams that make up the league’s 1 percent.

But we’re not completely sure how to rank the elite now that James Harden and Jeremy Lin will share a backcourt in Houston after Oklahoma City Thunder traded the reigning KIA Sixth Man of the Year to the Rockets Saturday night. It was the most shocking and final blow in a week that left us punch drunk from stunning (some more than others) news.

The balance of power hasn’t been shifted or anything. We all know that the Miami Heat, Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics make up the theoretical 1 percent. They’ll all kick this season off in the same positions in which they finished the last one.

Sure, it was a drama-filled last week before the start of the regular season. From the news that NBA Commissioner David Stern would be stepping down on Feb. 1, 2014 after 30 years on the job, and will be succeeded by Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, to the weekend stunner from Oklahoma City, the hits just kept coming.

On the eve of one of the most anticipated seasons we can remember, so much seems to be in flux.


No Kobe In Season Opener?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — With so much focus on Dwight Howard‘s back and whether or not he would be ready for the start of the Los Angeles Lakers’ regular season, few people worried about Kobe Bryant.

But with the opening night contest against the Dallas Mavericks just days away, it’s Bryant who could be in danger of missing the game with injury. Both of the Lakers’ stars sat out Wednesday night’s preseason loss to the Clippers and Bryant could, according to Lakers coach Mike Brown (via, be held out of the game against the Mavericks with a strained right foot:

“I don’t know if he’ll be ready,” Brown said after the Lakers 97-91 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. “So yeah, I guess there is question. I’m just going to wait for [Lakers trainer] Gary Vitti to tell me he can play because there’s nothing I can do about it until they release him anyway.”


Report: Dwight Looks Good On First Day

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — When is Dwight Howard going to be ready to suit up and actually play for the Los Angeles Lakers?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Nobody rocks a designer sweater better (you remember Howard from his introductory presser, above). But Lakers fans and NBA fans everywhere are itching to see what Howard looks like in action. And until now, we weren’t sure exactly when that would be. Howard is recovering from spinal surgery and there has never been a concrete return date given.

But he’s begun working with the Lakers’ training staff — his first day was Monday — and according to our main man Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register it was a “promising” first step, we could be getting closer to learning exactly when he’ll be ready:

Details are scarce and Lakers spokesman John Black declined to comment, but Howard on Monday had his first hands-on session with Lakers athletic trainer Gary Vitti and head physical therapist Judy Seto at the team’s training facility in El Segundo.

Howard is rehabilitating after April 20 spinal surgery, and no one has been ready to commit to a day, week or even month when Howard will make his Lakers debut. But the level of mobility and strength Howard is already showing has to be encouraging for anyone hopeful he’ll be jumping for that opening tip-off Oct. 30 against Dallas.

Howard insisted at his introductory Lakers news conference that he will not play until he is truly 100 percent. He also said this:

“Anybody who knows me and knows what I’m about: I would never quit anything and I would never fake an injury. I’ve never been a quitter. I’ve always been somebody who pushed through the end. I’ve had injuries before but I’ve never said anything about them. I’ve played through a lot of things.”